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Coast Guard suspends search for fisherman near Skagway

Alaska Dispatch

Updated 7:50 p.m.: The Coast Guard has suspended the search for a 62-year-old man who fell overboard from the fishing vessel Darlin’ Michelle in near Skagway on Tuesday. The Coast Guard crews searched an area approximately 20 square miles.

“It is always a very hard decision to make when you have to suspend a search for a man overboard,” said Nick Meyers, a Sector Juneau command center watchstander. “Our hearts go out to the family, friends and the crew of the fishing vessel.”

Original story: A fisherman fell off a 45-foot fishing vessel in Lynn Canal near Skagway on Tuesday, and a U.S. Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter and three good Samaritan vessels are looking for him while 35 mph winds rage.

Coast Guard officials in Juneau got a phone call from a Skagway police officer Tuesday afternoon reporting a man overboard. The man’s crewmates reportedly tossed him a life ring and attempted to pull the man back aboard several times, according to a Coast Guard press release.  But the life jacket broke and separated from the man.

An urgent marine broadcast requested the assistance of mariners in the area and directed the launch of a helicopter crew. An Air Station Sacramento, Calif., HC-130 Hercules airplane crew in the area was also diverted to assist with the search.

“Our primary concern is locating and assisting the missing fisherman,” said Senior Chief Petty Officer Chad Mountcastle of Sector Juneau. “We are working closely with our units, maritime partners and good Samaritans on scene.”