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Unalaska Man Dies In Boating Accident While Fishing Near Morris Cove

KUCB Archive

An Unalaska man died Sunday when a recreational boat capsized north of Morris Cove.

Police say David Long, 55, was gillnetting for salmon with another man around 2:30 p.m. when their boat began taking on water.

"They apparently ran into some kind of problem — either with the net, the boat, or the motor," said Acting Director Jennifer Shockley of the Department of Public Safety. "Not sure what the exact sequence of events was."

Police are still investigating the cause of the accident, which happened a few hundred yards offshore while both men were wearing life jackets.

Shockley said Long, a longtime employee at UniSea, Inc., did not make it off the boat before it sank. But the second man — whose name has not been released — was able to swim to shore, walk to Humpy Cove, and find someone to call for help.  

Public Safety responders received the message around 4 p.m. and set off for Morris Cove. By the time they arrived, Long's body was already on the beach. 

"There were two young men — and I don't have permission from their parents to release their names — who went out and actually recovered Mr. Long's body and brought him to shore," said Shockley.

Responders pronounced him dead at the scene, while the other man received medical treatment and was released without serious injuries.

Shockley said the state medical examiner will perform an autopsy to determine the cause of Long's death. Drowning is a likely cause, but police haven't ruled out other injuries or exposure to cold water.

The weather was calm Sunday afternoon, and Shockley said police have no reason to believe it played a role in the rare capsizing.

"I actually can't remember the last time we had a recreational boating fatality," she said. "I know there have been some in the past, but I think it's been at least 20 years."

Efforts are underway to remove the boat and net from Morris Cove. Shockley said UniSea is handling the boat, while Alaska State Troopers take care of the net.

Laura Kraegel reported for KUCB from 2016 until 2020. She was KUCB's news director starting in 2019. We are proud to have her back in the spring of 2023 filling in as an interim reporter for KUCB.
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