Local News

Barge comes aground, owner remains missing

The Tongass Narrows off The Plaza mall, with Pennock Island in the background, at right.

Ketchikan volunteers joined the U.S. Coast Guard Wednesday to search for a man whose houseboat drifted from nearby Pennock Island, and came aground during the storm Tuesday night on the rocks near The Plaza mall.

The report came in at about 10:45 p.m. Tuesday, according to Deputy Chief Josh Dossett of the Ketchikan Police Department.

“The lights were on, nobody appeared to be on the boat, the anchor was slightly submerged,” he said. “We contacted the Coast Guard, who responded. A dog was found on board the boat, no individuals”

Dossett said the Diver III is owned by John Anderson. As of late Wednesday afternoon, there still had been no sign of him, and Chris John of the Ketchikan Volunteer Rescue Squad reported that divers stopped searching underwater near where the boat was found. However, small-boat search parties continue their efforts.

Coast Guard Petty Officer Third Class Grant Devuyst said that Coast Guard personnel who boarded the 40-foot houseboat early Wednesday saw signs of recent occupancy. There were coals on the stove, and hot food inside.

Because it appeared the owner had just gone missing, they started search efforts immediately, and a helicopter from Air Station Sitka joined the search at first light. That helicopter returned to Sitka Wednesday afternoon.

Dossett said Anderson is known to suffer from seizures. He said local police were helping with the investigation from the land.

“Officers are on the barge examining it,” he said. “We’ve been in contact with friends of Mr. Anderson. We are not out on the water searching – that’s being left to the Coast Guard.”

Dossett said the dog found on board the boat was released to Anderson’s friends.

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