Sitka Sound rescuee in critical care unit

Posted: Thursday, October 15, 2009

JUNEAU - Family members report that Lyle Martin, 69, of Juneau, is in the critical care unit at Alaska Native Medical Center in Anchorage after the U.S. Coast Guard rescued him from Sitka Sound on Saturday night and medical teams revived him.

Daughter Donna Martin, reached by phone at the medical center on Wednesday, said her father was alone aboard his 36-foot Rascal fishing vessel anchored in Sitka Sound on Saturday night when the alarm went off. He had a survival suit on board, but she said her father only had enough time to put out a mayday call and grab a float coat before the boat flipped and he was in the water.

A Good Samaritan nearby helped Martin cling to the side of his boat while a Coast Guard helicopter was en route. He was in the water for about 45 minutes, she said, before the helicopter hoisted him out of the 53 degree water and took him to Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital in Sitka. He had flatlined, she said, but the medical team was able to revive him and worked on him for several hours overnight before he was transferred to Anchorage early Sunday morning.

"He's lucky to be alive. There's definitely somebody watching out for him," Donna Martin said, along with expressing thanks to everyone who helped her father.

The boat itself has completely sunk and does not pose a navigational hazard, the Coast Guard reported. The Coast Guard is investigating the cause of the sinking.

A bank account has been set up for donations to Lyle Martin through Wells Fargo, account number 8249478150.

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