A passenger on a sport fishing charter boat fishing out of Juneau, Alaska tragically passed away after falling overboard on Sunday, August 20. The accident happened in Barlow Cove, a narrow inlet at the northern tip of Admiralty Island, roughly 20 miles from Juneau.
According to reports from local news and the Alaska State Troopers, the 68-year-old man fell off the boat while attempting to walk from the stern to the bow. Shortly after the passenger fell in, the vessel’s captain and crew threw him a floatation ring. The passenger was able to grab hold of the ring. However, according to the captain, as the vessel turned around to retrieve the passenger, a wave washed over him and pushed him under. It remains unclear how long the passenger was underwater. The crew eventually pulled the passenger onto the swim step at the stern of the vessel and then onto the aft deck. The crew then placed an emergency radio call to first responders at 11:34 am.
Shortly after being pulled back onto the boat, the passenger became unresponsive. As the vessel headed back to Statter Harbor in Auke Bay, other passengers or crew onboard began administering CPR to the injured individual. Once at port, Alaska Wildlife Troopers and local first responders from the Capital City Fire Department took over resuscitation and life-saving efforts. Though emergency services quickly transported the passenger to Bartlett Regional Hospital, he was pronounced dead upon arrival.
While helping pull the passenger onboard, a second passenger suffered a broken femur. The second passenger was also transported to Bartlett Hospital for emergency treatment.
Our thoughts are with the family and friends of the decedent.
Though serious accidents and fatalities on sport fishing charter boats are not common, Alaska has experienced a rash of incidents this year. In June, the captain and four passengers of a charter vessel fishing out of a lodge near Sitka died after the vessel failed to return to port. The vessel and four of the individuals were later recovered. The cause of the incident remains under investigation. Earlier in August, one person died and three required rescue when their skiff capsized while fishing near Yakutat. One of the surviving passengers was severely hypothermic and transported to Anchorage by air ambulance for further treatment. The skiff had apparently been rented from a local.