A Sterling man is presumed dead after trying to retrieve a canoe from the frigid waters of Portage Lake while hiking with his brother Monday afternoon.
According to a Tuesday AST dispatch, Dave and Larry Dobson canoed to the south side of the lake Monday for an afternoon hike, but found that their canoe had drifted into the lake when they returned to the shoreline. Larry Dobson, 50, swam after the canoe and attempted to bring it back to shore.
“During the swim, he began to struggle and eventually disappeared beneath the water surface,” troopers wrote. “Dave Dobson, 51, of Sterling, jumped in to try and save his brother, but returned to the shoreline shortly afterward.”
The lake’s shore was too rocky to hike back to the parking lot, and Dave Dobson was forced to spend the night on the lake shore. He was able to recover the canoe in the morning when it drifted back to shore, then rowed back to the parking lot where he was met by a family member looking for the overdue brothers.
A Whittier ambulance took Dobson to the hospital for treatment of hypothermia, and Soldotna dispatchers received a 911 call about the incident at about 10:30 a.m. Tuesday.
AST spokesperson Beth Ipsen said she didn’t know the water temperature of the lake at the time, but confirmed that it may have been a factor in the incident.
“Very cold -- it’s glacially fed,” Ipsen said.
A trooper, a Whittier police officer and a U.S. Forest Service officer all responded to the lake, where a preliminary search for Larry Dobson is being conducted with a Forest Service jet boat.
Contact Chris Klint