A helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Sitka carries out training in Juneau, Alaska, June 26, 2018. (Petty Officer 1st Class Jon-Paul Rios | U.S. Coast Guard)

A helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Sitka carries out training in Juneau, Alaska, June 26, 2018. (Petty Officer 1st Class Jon-Paul Rios | U.S. Coast Guard)

Coast Guard suspends search for Sitka kayaker

His kayak was found capsized on Monday.

The Coast Guard says it has suspended a search for an overdue kayaker in Sitka Monday evening.

Kale Pastel, 36, is missing after a search spanning more than 111 square miles, according to a Coast Guard press release. Pastel was reported missing after running overdue from an early morning kayaking trip to nearby Birdsnest Bay.

“It’s in an active suspension,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Melissa McKenzie, a Coast Guard public affairs specialist, during a phone interview. “It means if we have any new developments come up, we’d absolutely launch a search.”

Assets involved include an MH-60 Jayhawk from Coast Guard Air Station Sitka, boat crews from Sitka Mountain Rescue and the U.S. Forest Service, and the Coast Guard Cutter Bailey T. Barco. Another boater located Pastel’s capsized kayak earlier that morning and towed it to Cannon Island.

“This is a tough case and hits hard to all of us here in Sitka,” said Coast Guard Capt. Mike Frawley, commanding officer of CGAS Sitka in the press release. “We are a small, close-knit community which was evident by the outpouring of volunteer searchers.”

McKenzie said there’s no trends for missing boaters in the region because it can vary so much. The decision to suspend the search is based on a number of factors, including the missing person’s age, health, the presence of survival gear, the currents and tides, air and water temperature, and if they ended up in the water.

“If you go into the water, your chances of survival decrease drastically,” McKenzie said.

Anyone with information regarding Pastel’s whereabouts is asked to contact Sector Juneau at (907)463-2980.

• Contact reporter Michael S. Lockett at 757-621-1197 or mlockett@juneauempire.com.


• Contact reporter Michael S. Lockett at 757-621-1197 or mlockett@juneauempire.com.


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