1 dead, 9 rescued after Haines-area canoe capsize
A Nevada man died Monday on a river near Haines in Southeast Alaska after the capsize of a commercially operated canoe left nearly a dozen people in the water, according to Alaska State Troopers.
Word of the Davidson Glacier River capsize that killed 50-year-old Steven Todd Willis, of North Las Vegas, was relayed by Haines police to troopers at about 10:40 a.m. Monday according to an online dispatch. Troopers didn’t initially identify the operator of the canoe.
“It was reported there were approximately 10 people whom had gone into a rapids area on the glacial fed river and at least four individuals were unaccounted for,” troopers wrote. “All of the occupants were reportedly wearing [personal flotation devices], but were not wearing dry suits.”
Troopers responded to the area along with Haines police and medics. The boat’s operator and eight other passengers were safely rescued or made it to shore, but a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter diverted to the area from a flight to Skagway found Willis dead on the river.
“Willis was reportedly found wearing a life jacket and pronounced deceased at approximately [12:51 p.m],” troopers wrote. “All of the other occupants were transported to a staging area by the USCG helicopter.”
Willis’ remains were taken to Juneau, and released by the state medical examiner’s office to next of kin who had also been aboard the canoe.
Troopers are investigating the capsize of the canoe on the river, amid conditions which “were reported to be higher than usual at the time of this incident.”
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