Searches end for two missing boaters

The U.S. Coast Guard suspended on April 2 a two-day search for a man missing in Peril Strait some 30 miles north of Sitka.

The search for Sean Paffenbarger ended on April 2 after a 35-hour search.

A Coast Guard Air Station Sitka MH-60 helicopter crew, the crew of the Coast Guard Cutter John McCormick, a crew from Coast Guard Aids to Navigation Team Sitka, Alaska State Trooper crews and the Sitka Mountain rescue searched a 77 square-mile area near the shoreline along Peril Strait.

The search began on Easter Sunday, April 1, after the Coast Guard was notified by state troopers that an emergency distress signal had been activated by a vessel in transit from Sitka to Saook Point. Weather on scene was 20 mile an hour winds, two-foot seas and 10 miles visibility.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of Sean Paffenbarger during this difficult time,” said Lt. Matthew Spado, command duty officer for Sector Juneau.

A second Coast Guard search for a man reported missing from a 16-foot red skiff in Passage Canal near Whittier, in Southcentral Alaska, was suspended on April 1, after a search of over 35 hours, with help from the good Samaritan vessels Qayaq Chief and Krystalsea.


That search began on March 31 after the Coast Guard was notified by the Whittier harbormaster of a possible overdue boaster. The missing vessel reportedly made a trip to tend crab pots just north of Whittier, but had not returned. Weather on scene was 25-to-40 mile an hour winds, with two-to-four-foot seas and clear skies.

The Coast Guard extended its thoughts and prayers to family and friends of the missing boater.