Overdue boaters found safe on a beach

Two overdue boaters were found safe early Tuesday afternoon on a beach in the Unuk River area north of Behm Canal. (Map of the Unuk River area courtesy Alaska Department of Fish and Game)

Two overdue boaters were found safe early Tuesday afternoon on a beach in the Unuk River area north of Behm Canal. (Map of the Unuk River area courtesy Alaska Department of Fish and Game)

Two overdue boaters were found safe early Tuesday afternoon on a beach in the Unuk River area north of Behm Canal.

The search began late Monday night after a family member reported that Patricia Bishop and Ken Wright were overdue from a boating trip.

Coast Guard spokesman Grant DeVuyst said a search helicopter crew was launched right away, but visibility was poor Monday night, and the helicopter had to return.
Early Tuesday morning, the Coast Guard sent a lifeboat crew and diverted the cutter Chandeleur to aid in the search.

In addition, DeVuyst said another helicopter was launched late Tuesday morning, after visibility had improved. Ketchikan Volunteer Rescue Squad personnel and members of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game also joined the search Tuesday morning.

A Cessna airplane working with KVRS spotted two people and their overturned skiff on a beach.

“They weren’t able to get in close enough to confirm who it was, but our helicopter crew got down there and picked up both people and confirmed it was our overdue boaters. So they are safe,” DeVuyst said.

DeVuyst credits the two boaters for filing the float plan with a family member.

“Because they filed a float plan, a family member knew when they were supposed to be back, and that family member knew to contact search and rescue personnel when they didn’t get back on time, so filing the float plan led directly to their rescue today,” he said.

DeVuyst couldn’t confirm why the boaters had ended up stranded on the beach.