June 25, 2014 in City

Nine Mile Falls teen missing after boat capsizes in Alaska

By The Spokesman-Review
 

Casey Burt, a 17-year-old from Nine Mile Falls, is missing after a fishing boat overturned in Alaska on Sunday.

Burt was on a 26-foot skiff with three other commercial fishermen when it capsized and threw all four into the Ugashik River near Pilot Point, according to Tim DeSpain, a spokesman for the Alaska State Troopers.

Charles Anthony Voss, 38, of Sterling, Alaska, died in the incident. He was unresponsive when local residents found him, and efforts to resuscitate him by the U.S. Coast Guard were unsuccessful.

The two known survivors of the incident are Earnest Pierce, 47, of Nine Mile Falls, and Michael Park, 24, of West Richland, Washington. They were able to climb on top of the overturned boat until they were rescued by other fishermen, according to a Troopers’ dispatch. Burt and Voss attempted to swim to shore when the boat overturned.

State troopers and Alaska Wildlife Troopers, along with the U.S. Coast Guard, searched unsuccessfully for Burt.

The skiff overturned about 350 yards from shore near the mouth of the Ugashik River, DeSpain said. It’s a regular commercial fishing area for chum, coho and sockeye salmon.

Troopers and the U.S. Coast Guard responded to the scene around 9 a.m. Sunday. They estimated 4-foot-high waves and winds of 25 mph, with stronger gusts at the time of the incident.

None of the occupants of the fishing skiff was wearing a life vest. DeSpain said other fishermen were choosing not to go out due to the weather at the time.

“When the conditions are that rough, most people don’t go out,” DeSpain said.

Local Alaskan residents and troopers were still searching for Burt on Tuesday. The U.S. Coast Guard has suspended search efforts.


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