Harris Harbor resident found dead

Boats lined up in Harris Harbor on a sunny, clear day on Oct. 12, 2016, in downtown Juneau, Alaska. (Photo by Rashah McChesney/Alaska’s Energy Desk)

A Harris Harbor resident died over the weekend after apparently falling into the water.

Another harbor resident called police Saturday morning after finding a body floating near the end of a float dock, according to Deputy Harbormaster Matt Creswell.

Creswell identified the man as 67-year-old David Little, who lived aboard the boat Quality Time.

He said they don’t know how Little ended up in the water.

While incidents like this are rare, Creswell said they do happen occasionally. Slick and cold conditions obviously make it far more dangerous.

“Hypothermia can set in, and you’re in shock almost instantly, especially this time of year with the temperature that the water is,” Creswell said.

The Juneau Police Department investigated the incident. Lt. Krag Campbell said in an email that alcohol consumption is the main theory for what caused Little to fall into the water.

“There is no foul play suspected and no injuries to the body that would be suspicious or lead to death,” Campbell wrote.

Eric Antrim was Little’s neighbor in Harris Harbor. He said he pulled Little out of the water more than a year before Saturday’s discovery. Little had fallen in on a snowy Thanksgiving Day in 2017.

Antrim said he and many of the other harbor residents live alone.

“If you fall in there, basically you’re dead unless somebody pulls you out or calls for help,” Antrim said. “There’s no way you can get yourself out if you fall in. The water’s too cold to swim to shore.”

Creswell said harbor staff are required to wear life jackets whenever they work near the edge of a dock.

He said residents are also aware of the risks.

“Mr. Little had a rescue ladder in his stall,” Creswell said. “He knew, and he was very safety conscious, so I don’t know what happened.”

What happened this week?

Make sure you didn’t miss anything with The Signal – an insightful (and entertaining) recap of the biggest news in Alaska, delivered to your inbox weekly

Recent headlines