Area moose hunters swamp skiff on Kalgin

Posted: Sunday, August 28, 2005

Three moose hunters were rescued from Kalgin Island Friday morning after their skiff swamped on the beach leaving them stranded.

Tim Robertson, Rex Mathiason and Tom Finn were unharmed and were towed back to Kenai by a Cook Inlet setnetter.

Ken Robertson, Tim’s father, hired an air taxi to look for the men after they did not return from a planned four-day hunting trip to the island about 16 miles across the inlet. The trip began Aug. 19.

The men were in an open 18-foot Klamath skiff and made it across to the island, but an extreme tide swamped the vessel while it was tied up on the beach.

The men “hunkered down,” the elder Robertson said Friday, and he asked pilot Larry Nicholson to fly over and check on their whereabouts Thursday.

Nicholson, owner of Gull Cape Air, said he flew over in his Super Cub and spotted the men and signs they had scratched out in the sand.

“One said, ‘SOS,’ one said, ‘Help,’ and one, ‘I have ...’ I couldn’t

make out the rest,” Nicholson said.

“I air dropped a message to them telling them how to indicate to me if they were OK, and they waved that they were,” the 30-year veteran pilot said.

“I might have been able to land there, but where they had pulled the skiff up onto the beach actually blocked my landing strip,” he said.

Nicholson and Ken Robertson arranged for the tow, and the men and their skiff were brought back safely Friday morning.

Ken Robertson said the men had “plenty of food and everything.”

He said they also had a cell phone, but it did not work well from the island.

“The whole thing wasn’t a big deal,” he said.

“It’s happened to a lot of guys before.”

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