56-year-old Anthony Shelp of Nome is still missing after falling overboard from his fishing vessel late last week.
At approximately 9am on Friday, October 26, the Alaska State Troopers received a report that Shelp went overboard from the Juda Lee seven miles west of Nome. Shelp’s family, also onboard during the incident, attempted to pull him back onto the boat but were unsuccessful. Shelp was reportedly not wearing a life jacket when he fell into the water.
The State Troopers contacted the U.S. Coast Guard, who sent an Air Station Kodiak MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew from Kotzebue. Nome Search and Rescue aided the Coast Guard by both helicopter and boat.
The search was suspended at 9pm on Friday, Oct. 26, due to hazardous conditions, and as of Monday afternoon, conditions have not improved.
Conditions when the Coast Guard arrived on the scene included a water temperature of 43° F, 20 mph winds, and five-foot seas. Seth Caron of Coast Guard District 17 noted the dangers of the situation: “When a person goes into cold water with no life jacket, our chances of finding them alive are vastly diminished.”
The State Troopers are reporting alcohol was a factor in the incident.
Image at top: the Nome Port (2014). File photo: Francesca Fenzi, KNOM.