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U.S. Coast Guard rescues 3 hunters near Sitka

Posted: December 14, 2011 - 2:51pm  |  Updated: December 15, 2011 - 1:08am
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SITKA, Alaska - A Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crewmembers safely escort three rescued hunters from the helicopter at Air Station Sitka Dec. 14, 2011.  The three hunters were reported missing when they failed to show up for work, a subsequent search found the hunters safe but stranded at a cabin located at Sevenfathom Bay, 20 miles south of Sitka.  U.S. Coast Guard photo by Lt. Chris Enoksen  U.S. Coast Guard photo by Lt. Chris Enoksen
U.S. Coast Guard photo by Lt. Chris Enoksen
SITKA, Alaska - A Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crewmembers safely escort three rescued hunters from the helicopter at Air Station Sitka Dec. 14, 2011. The three hunters were reported missing when they failed to show up for work, a subsequent search found the hunters safe but stranded at a cabin located at Sevenfathom Bay, 20 miles south of Sitka. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Lt. Chris Enoksen

Three stranded hunters were rescued 20 miles from Sitka after their skiff broke free of its mooring and drifted away, according to authorities.

The Coast Guard stated in a release that an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew from Air Station Sitka found the missing hunters stranded at a cabin near Sevenfathom Bay at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday. All three men appeared to be in good condition.

The hunters had left for a weekend hunting trip aboard a 17-foot vessel on Saturday and were reported missing to Coast Guard Sector Juneau watchstanders when they did not show up at work Wednesday morning, according to the release.

The Coast Guard conducted a search of the sea and shoreline between Sitka and Sevenfathom Bay, the destination of the hunters, and worked with the Sitka Mountain Rescue to coordinate a local investigation for the missing men, the release stated.

Sector Juneau Lt. j.g. James Dooley said they were found within an hour.

“We diverted them immediately, and in about an hour they were in a helo back to Sitka,” he said by phone.

Dooley said the pilot was able to spot people camping, land the helicopter nearby and verify they were stranded. They told the Coast Guard their moored skiff broke free and drifted away.

Sector Juneau coordinates search and rescue missions for all of Southeast Alaska.

The skiff is still missing, and anyone with knowledge of the location of the vessel is encouraged to call 463-2991.

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