Two Deceased, Four Survive After Small Vessel Capsizes in Glacier Bay

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Date: May 31, 2016
Contact: Albert Faria, Chief Ranger, 907-697-2230
Contact: Tom VandenBerg, 907-697-2619

GLACIER BAY NATIONAL PARK, AK –A day of fishing ended tragically for six when their small boat capsized in Glacier Bay, Monday.

In the late afternoon of May 30, Glacier Bay National Park rangers received word that the Invader, an aluminum fishing vessel with six persons on board had been observed capsized in the waters near Strawberry Island, 10 miles from park headquarters at Bartlett Cove. A variety of vessels, both large and small responded to the area and coordinated to search for victims and provide assistance. 

Local charter operator Jim Kearns quickly located two victims in the water and one on the shoreline of Strawberry Island. He rushed them to Bartlett Cove where they were treated for mild hypothermia and released. Another victim experiencing severe hypothermia was transported by a National Park Service research vessel and airlifted to Juneau by U.S. Coast Guard helicopter. This individual is expected to be released from Bartlett Regional Hospital later today. 

Two unresponsive victims were located in the water and retrieved by the crew of the tour vessel Wilderness Discoverer. Despite valiant efforts and extended CPR by onboard EMTs, crew, and park rangers, the two victims never regained consciousness and were pronounced dead upon arrival to Bartlett Cove. 

"I would like to express the deep sadness felt by the entire Glacier Bay family at the loss of these two park visitors," said Glacier Bay Superintendent Philip Hooge. "This is a reminder to all vessel owners on the importance of wearing life jackets and having ready access to emergency communication tools. The park thanks the multiple commercial and private operators that came together with the Coast Guard to save four lives." 

The weather on scene was clear and calm. A National Park Service response team will revisit the site today to locate and secure the vessel for recovery. The incident is currently under investigation by the National Park Service. 

Last updated: February 8, 2018

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Glacier Bay National Park & Preserve
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Gustavus, AK 99826


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