Gastineau Channel, with Douglas Island in the background, pictured Jan. 11, 2019. (Angelo Saggiomo | Juneau Empire)

Gastineau Channel, with Douglas Island in the background, pictured Jan. 11, 2019. (Angelo Saggiomo | Juneau Empire)

Coast Guard searches channel after report of flipped skiff

All they found was a buoy

Coast Guard personnel searched Gastineau Channel for about five hours Thursday after a caller thought they saw a skiff overturned in the channel, Petty Officer First Class Jon-Paul Rios said.

A call came in around 3 p.m., he said, from a caller reporting that they thought they saw a small boat overturned in the channel. Coast Guard Station Juneau sent a 45-foot boat out to search the snowy scene, and also had personnel search the shore. The Juneau Police Department also had officers helping search on shore, Rios said.

After the initial call, there were a couple more reports from callers who thought they heard people yelling for help near the channel. Rios said Coast Guard personnel looked into this and learned that the yells were actually people calling for their dog.

The Coast Guard searched for about five hours, Rios said, and all they found was a buoy in the water in the area where the original caller thought they saw a boat. Rios said they weren’t able to get back in touch with the original caller.

Based on how the search went, Coast Guard searchers came to the conclusion that it was a false report, Rios said. Rios said that it’s not uncommon to get reports like that, where someone thinks they see a boat or a person in the water. The search went on in the midst of a snow storm when 9.7 inches of snow fell — the most ever to fall on Jan. 10 in Juneau’s recorded history. Temperatures were between 22 and 26 degrees.

[‘It’s ridiculous’: Furloughed Juneau residents frustrated at federal shutdown]

With the federal government shutdown, uniformed Coast Guard service members’ next paycheck is in doubt. They received their Dec. 31 paycheck, Coast Guard spokesperson Lt. Brian Dykens said Wednesday, but it’s still in question whether those service members will get their next scheduled paycheck Jan. 15.


• Contact reporter Alex McCarthy at 523-2271 or amccarthy@juneauempire.com. Follow him on Twitter at @akmccarthy.


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