Thomas Lewis Jr., 09-12-08

Coast Guard searches for missing fisherman

ADN, September 12th, 2008

A search is under way for a 52-year-old Petersburg fisherman whose boat was found run aground and abandoned near Kake.

Thomas Lewis Jr. was reported missing this morning. He was due back from a four-day halibut fishing trip on Thursday, said Coast Guard search planner Scott Giard.

The Coast Guard found Lewis' 32-foot boat with its motor running. It had run aground at Cape Fanshaw, about 30 miles northwest of Petersburg. There was no sign of Lewis.

Searchers are scouring land and water in the area.

Coast Guard suspends search

Anchorage Daily News, September 15th, 2008

PETERSBURG -- The search for a man who vanished near Cape Fanshaw while halibut fishing has been suspended, the U.S. Coast Guard said Sunday.

The man, identified by Alaska State Troopers as Petersburg resident Thomas Lewis, 52, was reported missing at 11:30 a.m. Friday after he failed to return from a three-day halibut fishing trip in Frederick Sound the previous day.

Within 20 minutes, a Coast Guard rescue crew already in the area on other business came across the vessel, Hurricane, hard aground with its engines still running about 30 miles northwest of Petersburg, Petty Officer Jeramy Gaul said.

A rescue swimmer who inspected the vessel found it empty, though the catch was aboard, still whole and spoiled. Information taken from the ship's global positioning device determine no entries had been made after 5:45 p.m. Tuesday, the Coast Guard said.

Searchers using helicopters, boats and dogs scoured the area by air and ground but were unable to find further sign of Lewis' whereabouts after covering 1,472 nautical miles.

"Essentially we could not find further clues as to what happened," Gaul said.