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Urgent: Coast Guard searching for missing mariner in Icy Strait (map)

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Date: June 18, 2013
D17 External Affairs

JUNEAU, Alaska — The Coast Guard is searching for a missing mariner in Icy Strait, 40 miles west of Juneau, Tuesday morning.

A Coast Guard Air Station Sitka MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew and a Station Juneau 45-foot Response Boat-Medium crew are searching for the second member of two person crew from the 34-foot fishing vessel Swift. The Coast Guard Cutter Liberty is en route from Auke Bay to assist in the search.

Coast Guard Sector Juneau command center watchstanders received a relayed report of distress from the crew of the 57-foot fishing vessel Pacific Horizon just after midnight. The Pacific Horizon crew had rendezvoused with the Swift, found no one aboard and notified the Coast Guard. Command center watchstanders immediately issued an urgent marine information broadcast requesting the assistance of mariners in the area to locate the two crewmembers and directed the launch of the Coast Guard assets.

One of the crewmen was located mildly hypothermic by the Jayhawk helicopter crew near his overturned skiff on a beach. He was hoisted aboard the helicopter and transported to emergency medical personnel in Juneau.

"Our highest priority is locating the missing crewmember," said Petty Officer 1st Class Wes Shipley, a watchstander at the Sector Juneau command center. "We are using both surface and air assets to thoroughly search the area where the mariner went missing."

The missing man is reportedly wearing a gray, hooded sweatshirt and black rain pants. Weather on scene is reportedly light winds, calm seas and a water temperature of 60 degrees Fahrenheit. The Swift is reportedly homeported in Juneau and the Pacific Horizon is homeported in Auke Bay.