9 survive after skiff overturns

Posted: Monday, April 29, 2002

JUNEAU - Nine people ended up in Tongass Narrows after an overloaded skiff capsized Saturday night, the Coast Guard said. Two people were treated for hypothermia and minor injuries, but no one was seriously hurt.

The 12-foot aluminum skiff overturned about 300 yards north of the Coast Guard Station in Ketchikan about 8:30 p.m. Commercial fisherman Pat Cassin, a sea urchin diver on the fishing vessel Bullfrog, saw the incident and called for help.

Cassin rescued three people who were treading water about 30 yards from shore. One woman suffering from hypothermia couldn't swim and was clinging to a gas can for floatation, the Coast Guard said. Four other people swam to a nearby dock.

Cassin dove into the 43-degree water to search for the ninth person from the skiff. When others from the skiff reported the missing man may have made it to shore, police were called and officers found the man.

None of the nine people was wearing life jackets when the skiff overturned. Ketchikan police are investigating the incident.

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