Man still missing, woman rescued after fishing boat runs aground in Southeast Alaska

low clouds over an forested island
Low clouds obscure Prince of Wales Island in July 2020. (Angela Denning/KFSK)

A man remains missing after a fishing boat ran aground on Prince of Wales Island Sunday afternoon, according to Alaska Wildlife Troopers. The boat was the “Randi Jo.” There were two adults on the boat — a man and a woman — and a dog.

Troopers say the boat had run aground around 4:30 p.m. on Sunday near Point Baker, about 142 miles south of Juneau. Both people and the dog were able to escape the boat, get into a skiff and make it to a small rock island. Then, the boat and skiff were lost, troopers say.

The woman spent more than 24 hours on the rock island with her dog before good Samaritan vessel rescued them. Troopers say she declined medical evaluation.

The man, 27-year-old Arne Dahl of Point Baker, is still missing. He tried to swim to the next island on Sunday and was not seen again. The U.S. Coast Guard and Wrangell Search and Rescue searched the area for multiple hours to find him, but couldn’t.

Tim Buness is the local fire chief and heads Search and Rescue for Wrangell’s Fire Department. He says the search started on Monday.

“I think the Coast Guard got their first call about 1:30 or quarter to two on Monday,” said Buness, “and the boat actually went down the day before just after dark.”

Buness said they worked with the Coast Guard to search the area. The Coast Guard used its helicopter.

“They got there just shortly after our airplane got there,” said Buness, “and our plane and the [helicopter] were able to coordinate what areas that they wanted us to search.”

He said he’s in awe that the woman survived overnight.

“You know, I think it was pretty amazing that she was able to get through the night,” said Buness. “You know, it was fairly cool out, somewhere around 26 degrees, and it was probably a little windy on that rock that she was on.”

According to troopers, the active search and rescue ended Tuesday. If new information emerges, the state troopers and coast guard may restart a search and rescue.

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