Hypothermic paddler rescued on Prince of Wales Island’s Thorne River

An aerial shot of Prince of Wales Island. (Photo by KRBD)

Four people are safe after a Coast Guard helicopter rescued a 59-year-old Washington state man who appeared to be suffering from hypothermia while paddling on Prince of Wales Island on Friday, according to Alaska State Troopers.

Authorities got a distress call at about 10 a.m. from a party of two adults and two children. One of the adults, later identified as Steve Moyer, was dangerously cold as the group paddled the Honker Divide Canoe Route on the Thorne River.

A Sitka-based Coast Guard helicopter plucked Moyer from the scene and flew him to Ketchikan for treatment.

Search and rescue volunteers and the Thorne Bay Village Public Safety Officer located the remaining three paddlers and guided them down the remainder of the route, according to state troopers.

The Honker Divide Canoe Route is a 30-mile paddling trail popular with anglers on Prince of Wales Island. The U.S. Forest Service describes it as “a challenging paddle.”

Note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified the city where the Coast Guard helicopter was based. Southeast Alaska’s Coast Guard helicopters are based in Sitka, not Juneau.

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