A U.S. Coast Guard helicopter on duty in Southeast Alaska. (Photo by the U.S. Coast Guard)

A U.S. Coast Guard helicopter on duty in Southeast Alaska. (Photo by the U.S. Coast Guard)

Two people killed, three rescued when boat overturns near Sitka

Two people were killed and three rescued a boat overturned near Chichagof Island on Tuesday evening, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.

The Sitka Police Department initially notified the USCG about the incident at about 4:50 p.m. Tuesday, according to a press release issued Wednesday. An MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter air crew from Air Station Sitka launched to respond arrived on scene at about 5:15 p.m., and recovered the three people from the water at about 5:50 p.m. The people rescued were taken to emergency medical personnel waiting at the Sitka airport.

“It was with a heavy heart that we received news about the two people inside the cabin from our Sitka Fire Department search partners,” said USCG Capt. Darwin Jensen, commander of Sector Southeast Alaska. “We send our support and strength to the family members at this time and thank our partner agencies for their assistance in this case.”

Coast Guard Cutters Douglas Denman (WPC 1149) and Kukui (WLB 203) and an HC-130 from Air Station Kodiak also responded Tuesday night, tracked the vessel’s drift, and searched the area near the overturned vessel for the two missing people, according to the press release. Air Station Sitka conducted additional searches Tuesday night and Wednesday mornings.

Sitka Fire Department arrived on scene with Alaska Wildlife Troopers early Wednesday afternoon and deployed an unmanned underwater drone to find the two deceased individuals in the cabin of the vessel. Recovery operations of the deceased people are scheduled to commence once on-scene conditions improve.

Initial weather on scene was reported as eight- to 10-knot winds, nine-foot seas, a water temperature of 44 degrees and air temperature of 31 degrees.

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