Canoe capsize leaves Wasilla teen dead
A young Wasilla man was found dead early Friday after a canoe capsized on Finger Lake, Alaska State Troopers said.
Bryce Adams, 19, was found on the Palmer-area lake just after 6:15 a.m. after about four hours of searching, troopers said in an online dispatch. Word of the capsize initially reached troopers just before 2 a.m., as a report of “a male screaming for help on one of the islands in Finger Lake.”
“Troopers responded and learned a canoe carrying two males had capsized in the lake,” troopers wrote. “One male had made it to the island while the second had disappeared. A hasty search was conducted while water rescue with the [Mat-Su Borough’s emergency medical services] responded and no one was located.”
Ken Barkley, the borough’s deputy director of emergency services, said the dive team and other responders searched the island and the lake as the canoe’s other occupant was taken to Mat-Su Regional Medical Center for treatment. Crews recovered Adams’ body shortly afterward.
Adams’ next of kin have been notified, according to troopers. Alcohol was an apparent factor, they wrote, and “it appears neither boater was wearing a life jacket.”
Troopers spokesman Tim DeSpain said Friday morning that the surviving boater is another 19-year-old man, like Adams. Troopers didn't have initial word on when or how much anyone involved in the incident may have been drinking, and it also wasn't clear whether life jackets were unavailable or on hand but not used.
Barkley said the search presents an important safety message for boaters venturing onto potentially frigid Alaska waters over the long Memorial Day weekend to wear personal flotation devices. Although searchers didn’t record an exact water temperature for Finger Lake, he said ice on its surface “just went out a few weeks ago.”
"We want to mention boater safety, water safety: PFD no matter what,” Barkley said. “You know, people think they’re the best swimmer -- they hit that cold water and everything changes quickly, so we can’t stress (enough) the importance of a life jacket."
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