Baby drowns near Sitka

Posted: Thursday, September 05, 2002

SITKA (AP) -- Efforts to revive a baby that had been under the water near Sitka for about an hour were unsuccessful.

Doctors at Sitka Community Hospital worked unsuccessfully for two hours to save the baby. He was pronounced dead Tuesday at 3:04 p.m., according to the Sitka Sentinel.

The 3-month-old baby, Jordan Porter, was still strapped in a car seat when rescue divers found him. The car seat and baby tumbled from the boat when it capsized in choppy waters around noon near the Starrigavan boat launch.

The other people in the boat were identified as Jeremiah and Lisa Porter, ages 27 and 22, and their sons, Nathan, 4, and Timothy, 3.

The other family members in the boat were rescued. They were in stable condition at Sitka Community Hospital, said Jeannette Cowyer, chief nursing officer at the hospital.

The Porters were going out on a day trip toward Olga Strait to check crab pots when the accident occurred, said Cpl. James Helgoe, an investigator with the Alaska State Troopers.

Police got a 911 call at 11:55 a.m. The message was sent on to the Sitka Volunteer Fire Department and the U.S. Coast Guard.

Harbor Master Ray Majeski picked up the call and immediately headed toward Starrigavan in the harbor boat.

Workers from a nearby log barge went to the scene in a tugboat and began pulling family members aboard.

Realizing that the baby was missing, one man on the tugboat dove into the water to search for him. Jesse Tiffany said he made repeated attempts to go under the overturned boat but didn't see the child.

Meanwhile, the father used mouth-to-mouth resuscitation to revive one of his boys.

The crew of the tug took the survivors to ambulances waiting on shore.

A spokeswoman for the Coast Guard said after the crew of the tug left, the crew of a civilian boat continued the search for the baby.

Men using a boat hook lay on top of the overturned skiff and tried to clear debris and hook the baby's car seat. Moments after the rescue divers arrived, they surfaced with the baby.

Helgoe said the body was sent to the state medical examiner's office in Anchorage for an autopsy.

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