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Search for missing fishermen will resume

Posted: Friday, March 17, 2006

The Alaska State Troopers plan to resume searching for Juneau fisherman Rick Nebert and his crewman, Matthew Young of Sitka, who have been missing since their boat disappeared after a brief mayday call off Admiralty Island a week ago.

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The search will not resume until the Panhandle's high seas and strong winds relent and it is safe for vessel traffic.

The Coast Guard suspended its search Monday after three days. It found no signs of survivors.

Nebert's wife, Jennifer, and her sister-in-law, Deanna Nebert, have petitioned for government officials to resume the search.

Alaska Department of Public Safety Commissioner Bill Tandeske said Thursday that he will send the Enforcer, a 69-foot trooper wildlife enforcement boat, as soon as possible.

Tandeske said his decision is not an indication that the Coast Guard didn't do its best to find the two fishermen.

"I have a tremendous amount of respect for the Coast Guard," he said.

The Alaska State Troopers deal with families on many searches, and "we're awfully sensitive" to them, Tandeske explained.

Nebert's wife, Jennifer, said she appreciated the help.

It remains unclear how soon the Enforcer will be able to begin a search, though.

The Enforcer is currently weathered in at Tebenkof Bay, about 50 miles west of Petersburg, and will remain there until the bad weather breaks, Tandeske said.

"We are going to follow through as we promised we would and do our best," he added.

The decision to send the Enforcer came after Rep. Bill Thomas, R-Haines, a friend of Nebert, mentioned the Nebert family's plight and the Coast Guard's decision to suspend the search on the House floor Wednesday.

Jennifer Nebert said Thursday that she found out about the state's decision when a friend e-mailed her after hearing it on the radio.

Nebert said several people have been helping her in trying to "save my husband."

Nebert got some assistance from Tisa Becker, the wife of a local fisherman, who went out on a Coastal helicopter with her on Saturday to search the area by air, Nebert said.

Nebert is a stay-at-home mom. A special account has been set up under her name at First National Bank of Alaska for those who want to assist the family financially.



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