AP NEWS

Coast Guard rescues stranded boaters from Alaska river

April 1, 2019

HAINES, Alaska (AP) — A U.S. Coast Guard helicopter crew rescued a group of boaters from a sandbar in an Alaska river early Sunday, according to authorities.

The helicopter responded to a distress call near the southeast Alaska town of Haines and rescued the group of seven boaters and a dog from the Chilkat River shortly before 1 a.m., the Anchorage Daily News reported Sunday.

The group was flown to Haines for medical checks, but no one was injured, police said.

The boaters were identified as 30-year-old Gary Hinkle, 29-year-old Sierra Hinkle, 24-year-old Brittany Miller, 25-year-old Vincent Simkin, 24-year-old Caullen Taylor, 30-year-old Katie Torguson, and 22-year-old Joliena Wilson.

The group was about 10 miles (16 kilometers) up the river when their boats ran aground on a sandbar, the Alaska State Troopers said.

The group members were wet and did not have enough gear to stay dry when they began suffering hypothermia and requested assistance around 9:45 p.m. Saturday, according to police, who said temperatures dropped into the 30s in the area overnight.

The device that enabled them to contact the Coast Guard station in Sitka despite their remote location “probably saved their lives,” Coast Guard Lt. Cmdr. Joseph Plunkett said.

“This is a great example of how a sunny day in Alaska can quickly turn into survival situation,” Plunkett said.