UPDATE: KVRS’s planning committee met Tuesday night and decided not to continue the search Wednesday. An air search of shorelines may occur Thursday.
The Ketchikan Volunteer Rescue Squad continued its search Tuesday for two missing boaters.
Troy Smart, age 45, and Timothy Staples, age 38, both of Metlakatla, reportedly left Mountain Point near Ketchikan shortly after midnight Saturday heading to Cowboys Camp on Annette Island. When they did not arrive when expected early Sunday morning, the fiancé of one of the men called the Coast Guard.
Initially, two helicopter crews from Air Station Sitka, and two boat crews from Coast Guard Station Ketchikan were deployed. The Ketchikan Volunteer Rescue Squad joined in the search mid-morning.
At approximately 9:45 Sunday morning, one of the helicopter crews found the 16-foot skiff belonging to the missing men overturned in Blank Inlet on Gravina Island. The Coast Guard continued searching through Monday night and then suspended the mission.
KVRS decided to continue searching. Jerry Kiffer of KVRS says on Tuesday, ground teams searched Blank Inlet, the west channel of Gravina Point, and Pennock Island. The ground teams were supported the KVRS boat. Kiffer says they searched until about 3 p.m. today but did not find the men.
“It looks like we’ve got pretty good coverage in the top five probability search areas. The top two search areas were 95 percent covered, so, for us, that’s kind of our stopping point, or the time we move to a different search area.”
Kiffer wanted to thank the community for its support and assistance with search efforts.
“We have lots of calls coming in. ‘Have you thought of this?’ ‘Go check here.’ ‘What about this?’ And we encourage the public’s involvement. We only have so many eyes. So everybody out there looking is beneficial for everybody.”
He says KVRS’s planning committee was meeting tonight to decide whether or not to continue the search. As of story deadline, a decision hadn’t been made.