DILLINGHAM, Alaska (KTUU) - Three people were airlifted to safety on Wednesday evening after their boat ran aground during a multi-day round trip from Manokotak to Dillingham, Alaska State Troopers say.
The group left Dillingham on Tuesday evening and was reported overdue at around 3:50 p.m. yesterday after they failed to return on schedule. About 15 minutes after the missing person report was filed, a Bristol Bay Air Taxi aircraft flying over the area saw the abandoned skiff near the mouth of the Snake River, across from the Village of Ekuk.
“The Lund was reported to be aground in deep mud with footprints visible towards the shore,” troopers wrote in a dispatch posted online. “A two vessel hasty team from Manokotak was dispatched to the area.”
At around 6:20 p.m., one of the stranded boaters called troopers and reported they had run aground after leaving Dillingham sometime Tuesday evening.
“All three reported they were dehydrated and disoriented,” troopers wrote. “All were not dressed for the weather conditions and were reportedly suffering from exposure.”
The group was found in an area only accessible by helicopter. A private helicopter was chartered to fetch the victims and transport them to Kanakanak hospital for treatment. Alcohol is believed to be a factor in this incident, troopers said.
A fourth person, who was originally thought to have been with the stranded group, was found in Dillingham and had not travelled with the group as originally reported.
Manokotak is a village in Western Alaska just west of Dillingham. It has a population of about 480 people according to 2015 state estimates.