Man found after blaze scorches boat

Posted: Tuesday, August 08, 2000

The owner of the pleasure craft that burned to the waterline Monday night at Swanson Harbor has been found uninjured.

Larry Daly of Juneau was found about 7 a.m. today on the shore near where his boat burned, said helicopter pilot Rich MacIntyre of U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Sitka, who was involved in the search and rescue effort.

Swanson Harbor is off the mainland, about 25 miles southwest of Juneau.

The burning boat was first brought to the attention of authorities about midnight by the fishing boat Debbie Lynn, a 36-footer owned by Norm Judson of Thane Road.

Daly's 26-foot boat was burning when the Coast Guard arrived on the scene, said Petty Officer Darrell Wilson.

``It looked like he had gone hunting,'' MacIntyre said.

``He and his inflatable left his boat anchored out, and paddled to shore. He went into the woods. He didn't even realize his boat was burning, so how it got on fire is not determined,'' MacIntyre said.

In the darkness, MacIntyre and his helicopter crew searched the shoreline from the air, as two fishing boats and a 25-foot Coast Guard vessel from Station Juneau did the same from sea level.

``Shortly after we arrived at 1 a.m., the boat sank. There was no way to get any name or registration number off the boat, so we didn't know who we were looking for,'' MacIntyre said.

About 3 a.m., the helicopter crew decided to refuel at Juneau and wait until first light to resume patrolling. They almost immediately spotted the red Zodiac inflatable tied up on the northeast side of Couverden Island, near Swanson Harbor. The Coast Guard boat crew landed on the beach to search, where they found a float coat and paddles.

The helicopter continued its flight overhead, MacIntyre said.

``We hoped to see someone in the muskeg or get someone's attention (with the rotor noise). And after about an hour, he came out of the woods,'' MacIntyre said. Daly, unharmed, was given a ride to Auke Bay.

Wilson said Daly will be debriefed by Coast Guard personnel today, and that the Coast Guard's Marine Safety Office will interview him about possible pollution from fuel or oil the boat might have carried.

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