The body of a young woman is being sent to Anchorage for an autopsy today after being swept into Gastineau Channel from Cope Park by the swift waters of Gold Creek on Tuesday afternoon.
The woman, who was not identified, is the second possible drowning victim discovered in the past week. The first was Dana Lee White, 45, who was found dead in the channel near Marine Park on Saturday morning. Police do not suspect foul play and said the incidents don't appear to be related.
Police responded around 5 p.m. after receiving reports of a woman floating down the rapidly flowing creek.
"I walked by Cope Park and I saw a lady rolling in the water," said Robert Delacruz. "I went down there and the water was so fast. ... She went under the bridge and was gone." The bridge is down Calhoun Street from the Governor's Mansion where Calhoun turns into 12th Street.
Delacruz said the woman did not appear to be struggling as she was washed downstream and had no signs of life. He called for help and followed the creek to the channel.
Cisco Ramos saw the body shortly after Delacruz.
"She was moving so fast down the creek," he said. "It was obvious she wasn't (just swimming or in control). By the time we even got close, she was gone."
One Capital City Fire and Rescue crew went into the channel in a boat while another walked the shore area. The body was taken away about 5:40 p.m.
Police said they have yet to identify the woman, who is Alaska Native and in her late 20s or early 30s. She stands between 5 feet 5 inches and 5 feet 7 inches tall, weighs more than 200 pounds and has black hair. She was found wearing cut-off bib overalls.
Capt. Tom Porter said police are waiting for toxicology and autopsy reports for the woman and for White. Both bodies were sent to the state medical examiner's office in Anchorage. Porter said police won't have the results for two to six weeks.
However, a preliminary examination gave no indication of foul play, he said. Porter said she could have struck her head and drowned. He also said the water in the creek was cold enough to cause a heart attack.
Police are asking people to report any missing family members or friends at 586-0600 in an effort to identify the woman.
Melanie Plenda can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Andrew Krueger can be reached at email@example.com.
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