Gary Richardson, 08-27-05

Alaska digest

Published: August 28, 2005


Fairbanks man presumed drowned in Valdez Narrows boating accident

A 59-year-old Fairbanks man was missing and presumed drowned Saturday after falling off a boat while fishing in Valdez Narrows, the U.S. Coast Guard said.

Gary Richardson bent over to untangle fish in a net and fell into the water and did not come up, according to a report his wife gave the Coast Guard, said Petty Officer Jesami Statesir. The agency said he was not wearing a flotation device.

The Coast Guard spent about four hours searching for Richardson using a cutter, small boats and a Jayhawk helicopter. The crews of numerous "Good Samaritan" vessels also participated, Statesir said.

The agency suspended its search about 3:30 p.m., Stateasir said from the Coast Guard's command center in Juneau.

Richardson, his wife, who was not named, and another person had been fishing from a 23-foot pleasure craft in the Narrows just south of a feature called Middle Rock sometime before 11 a.m., Statesir said.

"His wife saw the man go under," Statesir said. "He did not know how to swim."

-- Anchorage Daily News