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Body of second boater found near Whittier

Published: Dec. 4, 2021 at 5:08 PM AKST
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WHITTIER, Alaska (KTUU) - The body of Dillingham resident Luki Akelkok III, 28, was found approximately nine miles northeast of Whittier on Saturday. Akelkok was reported missing with 28-year-old Stefan Weingarth of Anchorage on Dec. 1 when their boat began sinking approximately “five minutes outside of Whittier.”

Alaska State Troopers posted that a vessel was reported sinking near Whittier at 6:48 p.m., on Wednesday after Akelkok and Weingarth went hunting deer with two other people who were on a separate boat. Akelkok was reported by troopers to be operating the 20-foot Lund aluminum skiff with four deer and two seals on board that capsized after running into inclement weather.

The U.S. Coast Guard sent a helicopter and Coast Guard Cutter Mustang to assist with the search efforts and Weingarth’s body was found at 10:13 p.m, on Wednesday, approximately five miles northeast of Whittier Passage Canal. Weingarth’s body was found wearing a life jacket, according to troopers. Troopers report that the Coast Guard located the missing vessel near Weingarth’s body, but did not retrieve it.

The Coast Guard had suspended their search on Friday due to inclement weather, while the troopers reported on Friday that weather did not permit continuing the search. Members of Akelkok’s family and the owner of the vessel that had capsized responded to Whittier to assist with the search efforts. Troopers report that the responding persons again located the drifting vessel in Logging Camp Bay and found Akelkok’s body approximately 200 yards away from the boat in two feet of water. Troopers report that Akelkok was not wearing a life preserver, and that his body drifted approximately five miles from where the boat was reported to have begun sinking.

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