Roger Cashin 9/17/61 Knik Arm Hunter Drown

Accidents Heighten Rescue Teams' awareness Of Tide's Deadly Force
By Marilee Enge, ADN 8/1/88

Many have heard the story of the duck hunter who was stuck in the mud on either Knik or Turnagain arm, in the 1960s or 1970s, depending on who tells it, and was pulled in half by a helicopter, leaving the lower half of his body in the mud. Some locals remember the incident vividly.  There is no evidence it ever happened, but the story has become an Alaska legend.

Hancock, the diver, said the story may be based on a rescue attempt on Turnagain Arm in the late '60s.  As a young firefighter with the Girdwood fire department, he remembers hearing about a hunter who drowned when rescuers were unable to free him.  A helicopter may have been involved, he said.

On Sept. 17, 1961, a 33-year-old Fort Richardson soldier named Roger Cashin drowned when the tide washed over him after he had been trapped in the mud of a tidal slough near the Knik River.  According to an interview with one of the rescuers, published in The Anchorage Times in 1981, the barrel of his shotgun was removed and held for him to breathe through, but he was panicked and eventually drowned.

The next day, the story reported, a recovery crew tied a rope around him and a helicopter tried to pull him out.  The rope broke from the strain, possibly giving rise to the legend.