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Volunteer rescue and recovery group raising money for new boat

Published: Jul. 7, 2021 at 6:21 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - The Alaska Dive Search Rescue and Recovery Team, an all-volunteer organization that recovers missing Alaskans, is asking the public for help after their boat nearly sank during a mission on Tuesday.

Founder Jeremy Lilly said volunteers were in the group’s aluminum boat on Big Lake looking for a man who went overboard on the July 4. After a long day of searching Tuesday, the boat began to take on water and barely made it back to shore.

According to Lilly, the aging boat needs to replaced in order to carry on the group’s mission of recovering Alaskans who’ve gone missing in the water or fallen through the ice. He said the group, which often works with the Alaska State Troopers, performs 15-20 recoveries a year, all over the state.

“There’s really no one else out there that does that, especially in remote villages and remote areas like that,” Lilly said. “We also have specialized equipment that’s not found anywhere else in the state that we use, so we take that around and help try to bring closure to the families.”

No one in the group is paid and the nonprofit doesn’t charge for its services, which is why they are hoping donations will help them get another boat. People can find more information about how to donate on their Facebook page.

“We are really asking the community to start stepping up and helping us if they can,” Lilly said. “We are doing this on our own time, out of our own pockets for the most part, and all we are trying to do is maintain the equipment we have so we can go out there and bring closure to other people.”

Lilly said the boat doesn’t have to be brand new, but it does have to be safe and reliable. There are some specifics they need, including the ability to go on a lake or in the ocean. The hope is for an aluminum boat that is covered, with plenty of deck space for people and equipment.

Lilly hopes they can find something sooner rather than later, so they can be ready for the next call.

“Even if it’s a used boat in good condition that meets our needs, that’s perfect,” he said. “But the only way we are going to be able to repair or replace any of this stuff is with donations.”

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