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Coast Guard suspends search for man overboard near Skagway, Alaska

Date: Oct. 23, 2012
District 17 Public Affairs Detachment Kodiak

KODIAK, Alaska — The Coast Guard has suspended the search for a 62-year-old man who fell overboard from the fishing vessel Darlin’ Michelle in the vicinity of Skagway Tuesday.

The Coast Guard’s search effort included a Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew from Air Station Sitka, an Air Station Sacramento, Calif., HC-130 Hercules airplane crew, Skagway emergency response personnel, the Alaska State Troopers, three good Samaritan vessel crews and a Temsco helicopter crew. The Coast Guard crews searched an area approximately 20 square miles.

“It is always a very hard decision to make when you have to suspend a search for a man overboard,” said Nick Meyers, a Sector Juneau command center watchstander. “Our hearts go out to the family, friends and the crew of the fishing vessel.”

Coast Guard Sector Juneau watchstanders received a phone call from a Skagway police officer Tuesday afternoon reporting that a crewmember from the vessel had fallen overboard. The crew of the vessel reported that they had deployed a life ring and attempted to pull the crewmember back aboard several times; however, while doing so the life jacket he was wearing broke and separated from the man and he was unable to latch onto the life ring.

The search has been suspended pending any new information. Weather in the search area was reported as 35 mph and 2-foot seas.