Four rescued after skipper dies, grounding boat near Juneau

Posted: Monday, August 27, 2001

JUNEAU (AP) -- Four people were rescued from a commercial fishing boat near Juneau Saturday night after the master of the vessel lost consciousness and ran the boat aground, the Coast Guard said.

The incident happened in Hawk Inlet, about 15 miles southwest of Juneau.

Coast Guard officials said the master of the fishing vessel Heritage apparently went into a diabetic coma, lost consciousness and died. The crew tried without success to resuscitate the man, identified as John Ancich, 34, of Gig Harbor, Wash.

The four crew members notified the Coast Guard of the situation at about 11 p.m. and said they were abandoning ship because the vessel was listing badly. They managed to get into a skiff and a nearby cruise ship, the Spirit of Endeavor, responded and recovered the four and a dog from the skiff.

A Coast Guard helicopter reached the Heritage shortly before one a.m. Sunday and a rescue swimmer was lowered to the vessel. The swimmer confirmed that Ancich was dead. His body was removed from the vessel early Sunday morning by Alaska State Troopers.

The Coast Guard is continuing to investigate the incident.

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