Boat adrift in Gastineau Channel prompts a little mystery

By November 29, 2019 Juneau, Search & Rescue
A Coast Guard Jayhawk helicopter flies over Gastineau Channel in Juneau as authorities investigate a pleasurecraft that had been reported unmanned and adrift with its motor running on Friday, Nov. 29, 2019. The Coast Guard later reached the vessel's owner and someone entrusted to move it and called off the search.

A Coast Guard Jayhawk helicopter flies over Gastineau Channel in Juneau as authorities investigate a pleasurecraft that had been reported uncrewed and adrift with its motor running on Friday. The Coast Guard later reached the vessel’s owner and someone entrusted to move it and called off the search. (Photo courtesy of Brian Wallace)

The Coast Guard spent most of Friday’s daylight hours in Juneau looking for a possible missing person.

Petty Officer 3rd Class Amanda Norcross is a spokesperson for the Coast Guard District 17 office in Juneau. She said the search was prompted by a referral from local 911 dispatchers around 10:30 a.m. about a pleasurecraft adrift in Gastineau Channel — with no one on board and its engine running, but not in gear.

No one had been reported missing, but, just in case, the Coast Guard initiated a search, which included a Jayhawk helicopter flying up and down the channel.

By sunset around 3:15 p.m., the Coast Guard reached the boat’s owner and someone who’d been entrusted to move it, both of whom were safe and sound.

“In addition to the fact that there’s been no sightings or other reports of people in the water, the search was suspended,” Norcross said.

Norcross said the Coast Guard wasn’t able to come up with an explanation for how or why the motor was running. She suggested it may be a matter for the Juneau Police Department to investigate.

Police Sgt. Ben Beck said the department helped the Coast Guard in this matter, but said further investigation is unlikely.

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