- Associated Press - Thursday, February 16, 2017

KETCHIKAN, Alaska (AP) - Search crews are to continue looking for two men who were reported missing before their boat was found capsized near Ketchikan in southeast Alaska.

Troy Smart, 45, and Timothy Staples, 38, both of Metlakatla, took off in a 16-foot skiff from Mountain Point around midnight on Sunday. They were expected to arrive on Annette Island in about 30 minutes but were reported overdue, The Ketchikan Daily News reported (https://bit.ly/2kMo1da).

The U.S. Coast Guard launched aerial and sea searches and had help from the Ketchikan Volunteer Rescue Squad.

The men’s boat was found overturned in Blank Inlet on Gravina Island before the Coast Guard suspended its search for the men Monday.

The rescue squad’s Jerry Kiffer says searchers located a life jacket and an oar Tuesday, but nothing could be confirmed to have come from Smart and Staples’ boat.

“We were able to complete the entire mission profile today that we had planned on,” Kiffer said. “We got a little bit of extra country (and) shoreline covered than we anticipated on Revillagigedo (Island).”

The rescue squad suspended its search Tuesday afternoon and did not plan to conduct an active search on Wednesday, Kiffer said.

“We’re likely going to have on Thursday - weather-dependent - we’re going to have some search aircraft up at low tide intervals so we can take a look at the beach at low tide,” Kiffer said.

About 20 members of the rescue squad have been deployed each day of the search.

Kiffer said the group is now looking at the search as a recovery effort.

“We’ve run the possibility of detection numbers up to the point that if anybody was on the beach and was moving at all, we would have found them,” Kiffer said. “At this point, within the search area, it is definitely, probably a recovery operation at this point.”


Information from: Ketchikan (Alaska) Daily News, https://www.ketchikandailynews.com

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