Coghill grandson missing after boat overturns

Posted: Wednesday, September 12, 2001

FAIRBANKS (AP) -- Former Lt. Gov. Jack Coghill's grandson was missing Tuesday after a boat swamped on the Tanana River near the mouth of the Tolovana River, Alaska State Troopers said.

Michael Coghill, 26, of Nenana was on a boat trip late Friday with Timothy McManus, 34, and Edgar Monroe, 46, both of Nenana, when their boat swamped. Coghill was last seen by his boating partners clinging to a red gas can, floating down the Tanana toward Manley, about 30 miles downriver.

The trio, all of Nenana, were boating down the Tanana River when their boat hit either a gravel bar or a log at about 11 p.m. Friday, according to Sgt. Todd Sharp, an Alaska Fish and Wildlife Protection trooper.

Because of the swift current, water swamped the back of the boat, causing it to roll several times, dumping the occupants.

McManus and Monroe managed to make it to a nearby sand bar, but watched as Coghill continued to float down the river. Sharp said it wasn't clear whether Coghill was wearing a life jacket at the time.

Coghill's mother, Paula Simpson, told the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner that he told his friends he was OK before they lost sight of him.

The three were 10 miles from their destination, a riverfront cabin, and five miles downriver from where the Tolovana River empties into the Tanana about 63 miles east of Fairbanks.

McManus and Monroe were stranded overnight on the sand bar, but were picked up by state Fish and Game employees on their way to a fish camp Saturday morning, Sharp said.

When they reached the fish camp, they used a cell phone to call troopers, who immediately launched an air search.

The fuel tank Coghill had floating on was found downriver.

''He's wood-wise. He was raised in the Interior,'' said his grandfather, Jack Coghill. ''He's always out camping. He knows the woods and knows what to do.''

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