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Two Sitka Men Injured in Boat's Southeast Alaska Grounding

By Chris Klint, Senior Digital Producer, cklint@ktuu.com
Published On: Dec 24 2013 04:54:09 PM AKST
Updated On: Dec 18 2013 11:12:19 AM AKST
ANCHORAGE, Alaska -

Alaska State Troopers say two Sitka men were injured, one of them seriously, in the grounding of a 30-foot boat Tuesday that saw them subsequently rescued by a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter.

According to a Wednesday AST dispatch, 37-year-old Mitchell McGraw was operating the Almar boat along with passenger Nicholas Galinin, 34, when the boat ran aground in the vicinity of Sergius Narrows on the south side of Chichagof Island.

"The vessel collided with the beach at cruise speed," troopers wrote. "McGraw was seriously injured and (Galanin) suffered non-life threatening injuries. The men reported the collision to the United States Coast Guard and were able to continue toward Sitka."

In an email to Channel 2, AST spokesperson Beth Ipsen says the incident occurred Tuesday afternoon and remains under investigation.

"The two men were returning from a hunting trip when they ran (aground) at approximately 3:30 p.m.," Ipsen wrote. "Wildlife Troopers are still looking into what caused the grounding. It was not dark and weather doesn't appear to be a factor. The trooper said 'they hit the beach hard.'"

Ipsen says the men were able to activate a SPOT locator beacon and travel about 10 miles south to Neva Strait, where they moored at a buoy and met with responding Sitka Mountain Rescue volunteers, good Samaritan vessels and the Coast Guard helicopter.

"The helicopter hoisted McGraw up in a litter, then landed and picked up Galanin nearby," Ipsen wrote. "They arrived in Sitka somewhere around 5 p.m."

Both men were initially treated in Sitka, and Ipsen says McGraw was reportedly flown out of state for further medical attention.

"Damage to the vessel is estimated at $30,000," troopers wrote in the dispatch. "Alcohol does not appear to have been a factor (in the grounding)."
According to a Wednesday AST dispatch, 37-year-old Mitchell McGraw was operating the Almar boat along with passenger Nicholas Galinin, 34, when the boat ran aground in the vicinity of Sergius Narrows on the south side of Chichagof Island.

“The vessel collided with the beach at cruise speed,” troopers wrote. “McGraw was seriously injured and (Galanin) suffered non-life threatening injuries. The men reported the collision to the United States Coast Guard and were able to continue toward Sitka.”

In an email to Channel 2, AST spokesperson Beth Ipsen says the incident occurred Tuesday afternoon and remains under investigation.

“The two men were returning from a hunting trip when they ran (aground) at approximately 3:30 p.m.,” Ipsen wrote. “Wildlife Troopers are still looking into what caused the grounding. It was not dark and weather doesn’t appear to be a factor. The trooper said ‘they hit the beach hard.’”

Ipsen says the men were able to activate a SPOT locator beacon and travel about 10 miles south to Neva Strait, where they moored at a buoy and rendezvoused with help from Sitka Mountain Rescue volunteers, good Samaritan vessels and the Coast Guard helicopter.

“The helicopter hoisted McGraw up in a litter, then landed and picked up Galanin nearby,” Ipsen wrote in an email. “They arrived in Sitka somewhere around 5 p.m.”

Both men were initially treated in Sitka, and Ipsen says McGraw was reportedly flown out of state for further medical attention.

“Damage to the vessel is estimated at $30,000,” troopers wrote in the dispatch. “Alcohol does not appear to have been a factor (in the grounding).”