A U.S. Coast Guard vessel sits docked at Auke Bay in November 2022. On Saturday the Coast Guard suspended its search for a 70-year-old man who was last seen departing for a fishing trip near Kake on Friday morning. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire File)

A U.S. Coast Guard vessel sits docked at Auke Bay in November 2022. On Saturday the Coast Guard suspended its search for a 70-year-old man who was last seen departing for a fishing trip near Kake on Friday morning. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire File)

Coast Guard suspends search for missing Kake boater

The decision was made following a 16-hour search effort covering more than 375 nautical miles.

The U.S. Coast Guard suspended its search Saturday evening for a 70-year-old man who was last seen departing for a fishing trip near Kake on Friday morning.

“We extend our deepest sympathies to Mr. Wilson’s loved ones,” said Cmdr. Raymond Reichl, Sector Juneau search and rescue mission coordinator. “The decision to suspend an active search is never easy and is only done after exhaustive efforts to find the missing person.”

The search for Timothy Wilson Jr., of Kake, ended after Coast Guard crews, along with multiple local search and rescue teams and good Samaritans, searched for about 16 hours and over 375 nautical square miles, according to a news release.

At about 8:30 p.m. on Friday, Alaska State Troopers relayed a report to Coast Guard watchstanders that a boater, later identified as Wilson, was overdue from a trip aboard a 15-foot Lund fishing boat.

His last known location was pinged at about 6 miles southwest of Kake near Payne Island via cell phone locator, according to the Coast Guard. On Saturday morning, a search and rescue team out of Wrangell spotted the missing vessel tied to a small rock near Point Napean, around 13 miles northwest of Kake.

Wilson was not aboard the vessel when discovered by search and rescue, and the search was adjusted to look for him in the water.

Since he was reported missing, two local GoFundMe fundraisers were created to aid Wilson’s family, plus additional search and rescue efforts.

Margo Wilson, the wife of Wilson, was an organizer of one of the fundraisers. As of Tuesday, it had raised about $1,200 out of the $5,000 goal.

“I am humbly asking for donations for family expenses during this time, any amount helps,” she wrote. “Thank you thank you thank you.”

Elizabeth Medicine Crow, the organizer of the other fundraiser for Wilson, wrote that Wilson “went out fishing as he normally does but did not return home when expected.” She thanked donors for the assistance the funds would provide to the search effort, which as of Tuesday has raised about $2,000 out of the $5,000 goal.

“He is a legend for all he does to provide our Native foods for our community,” she wrote. “He knows these waters and these lands, we pray he is just waiting for searchers to find him and bring him home.”

• Contact reporter Clarise Larson at clarise.larson@juneauempire.com or (651)-528-1807.

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