1 dead, 3 rescued after rogue wave capsizes skiff near Yakutat

a skiff
A skiff capsized near Yakutat by a rogue wave on Sunday, Aug. 14, 2023. (From Yakutat Fire/EMS)

One person died and three others survived after a skiff overturned near Yakutat on Sunday.

The search for the skiff began shortly after the Yakutat Fire Department got a call reporting a group of overdue boaters who had left earlier in the day on a fishing trip.

Yakutat Police Sgt. Jesse Picard said in an interview that the boaters departed from a local lodge around 7 a.m. Sunday to go fishing near Khantaak Island. Around 9 a.m., their boat was hit by a rogue wave and overturned. They were able to climb on top of the boat but another wave flipped them back into the water. Three of the passengers swam to shore.

Picard says one of the survivors walked to the southeast side of the island where he could see Yakutat and began swimming toward town. He was later rescued from the water by good Samaritans. Crew from a nearby Allen Marine boat spotted the other two survivors on land, and were able to direct a search party to their location.

Picard says one of the survivors was medevaced to Anchorage to treat non-life-threatening injuries. The other two were quickly discharged from the Yakutat Clinic.

Picard did not disclose the name of the deceased, but said that the person’s next-of-kin have been notified.

He says between the local fire and police departments and volunteers, over 20 people responded. Picard said all of the passengers were wearing life preservers at the time of the accident.

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