Alaska Digest

Posted: Monday, August 01, 2005

Vick set to begin 92-mile swim

JUNEAU - Haines swim coach Steve Vick will begin his 92-mile swim from Skagway to Juneau through Lynn Canal at just after 7 p.m. today.

Vick, who thinks he can complete the swim in 10 days, is taking on the challenge to protest the proposed 68.5-mile Juneau access road along the east side of the canal

"Residents of the Lynn Canal are being strong-armed," Vick said in a press release. "We have consistently said we don't need or want this road and yet the state continues to push a road and undermine ferry service."

Tonight in Skagway, people will gather at the Red Onion saloon for a 7 p.m. fundraiser and kickoff beach party. Vick hopes to complete the 16 miles to Haines by noon Aug. 2, when supporters will meet him for a picnic at Lookout Park.

Vick's Web site,, has more information about the swim and will post updates during his journey as well as his expected arrival time in Juneau. His path will take him along the east side of the Lynn Canal except for a brief trip down the west side to avoid sea lions and the Katzehin River mud flats. He will swim through Berner's Bay and past the Auke Rec Recreation Area.

Teen rescued after falling into river

KENAI - A Virginia teenager fell off a commercial fishing boat and was rescued by a worker at a fish processing plant.

Jacob Lethin, 17, credits Loren Marks with saving his life.

"I owe my life to the guy. I don't know what more there is to say," Lethin said.

Lethin came to Alaska to work as a deck hand on the fishing vessel Petrel. Near midnight a week ago, the vessel had entered the river to offload fish. There was little light and underneath the boat the dark water was rushing by cold and fast.

"I reached down for a board and slipped on a rope. I hit the deck and then was in the water before I even knew what happened," Lethin said.

To make matters worse, he was heading toward several drift boats tied together for the evening. The had their motors running against the swift current.

Marks, who works for Pacific Star Seafoods, was on the job shuttling fishermen between vessels and the dock with a skiff.

"I was parked by a set of stairs with the motor running when I saw something bobbing by in the water," Marks said.

Marks gunned the motor on the skiff and sped across the water to Lethin.

"I threw him the bow line and tried to help him into the boat. My adrenaline was really going, and within a few seconds, it was all over," Marks said.

Weather eases spread of Interior forest fires

FAIRBANKS - Cool, calm conditions near Eagle brought relief to firefighters on the Boundary Creek and Mission Creek fires in Interior Alaska.

Firefighters welcomed quieter winds Saturday after 15 mph to 25 mph winds pushed both fires into significant runs Thursday and Friday. The 55,000-acre Boundary Creek fire moved 11 miles in two days and the fires were just five miles apart.

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