Update: The Coast Guard has suspended its search. Read more here.
The Coast Guard is searching the waters near the Juneau Yacht Club for two boaters reported missing in Gastineau Channel.
The search began with a 911 call at 9:02 p.m. Tuesday from an Aurora Harbor patron who said they heard cries for help near the Yacht Club, according to Officer Thomas McGrann of the Juneau Police Department. Emergency vehicles responded and McGrann said he was able to yell to two women who were on a skiff near the shore.
Vince Grochowski, a civilian search and rescue controller for the Coast Guard, said one boat and one helicopter have been deployed to search for the missing boaters. Grochowski said the skiff had overturned in the channel.
The two women were able to paddle to shore, where emergency personnel picked them up. The women were “hysterical,” McGrann said, and were only able to say that there were three people still in the water. The women were then taken to Bartlett Regional Hospital, and were discharged in stable condition between 12:30 and 1 a.m., Bartlett spokesperson Katie Bausler said.
The Coast Guard was able to pull one person out of the water, McGrann told the Empire at the scene. Grochowski said the male pulled out of the water reported that there was one other male still in the water, but that with the report of the two women who were pulled off the skiff, the Coast Guard is now looking for two boaters.
The male pulled from the water was taken to Bartlett Regional Hospital, and Grochowski said the man was showing early signs of hypothermia. Bausler said the male was taken to the hospital around 10 p.m. wrapped in warm blankets, and was later discharged in stable condition between 12:30 and 1 a.m. According to the report from the supervisor on duty, Bausler said, the man had been in the water for between 10 and 30 minutes.
As of 10:40 p.m., the Coast Guard was the only agency remaining on scene and was looking for the two missing boaters.
A dog named Hennessey was also saved from the skiff and Animal Control personnel were en route to pick him up as of 10 p.m.
Editor’s Note: Both the Juneau Police Department and Coast Guard, through representatives, told the Empire at one point that just one person was missing, due to the fact that that was what the male pulled from the water told authorities. The authorities, however, were also told by the two women in the skiff that three people were in the water (including the one male who was rescued), so authorities are operating under the assumption that there may be two people missing in the water. The Empire regrets any confusion this may have caused during initial reporting of the search.