UPDATE: Coast Guard suspends search for man missing after Whittier explosion

 Whittier dock explosion photo courtesy Daniel Christianson
Whittier dock explosion photo courtesy Daniel Christianson (KTUU)
Published: Jul. 8, 2019 at 2:40 AM AKDT
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UPDATE 8:14 p.m.

The Coast Guard has officially called off its search for a man who was missing after an explosion at the Whittier dock. The 49-year-old Cordova man was missing for 17 hours. His name hasn't been released, but his next of kin were notified.

“The Coast Guard committed all available resources in conducting this search effort," said Cmdr. Mark Kuperman, the Coast Guard Sector Anchorage deputy commander and the search-and-rescue mission coordinator for the search. "Our thoughts are with the family and friends who were impacted by this tragedy.”

The Coast Guard searched 12 square miles of water with a helicopter and boat.

UPDATE 12:30 p.m.

Coast Guard crews are searching for one person missing after an explosion and the following fire at Delong Dock in Whittier.

Our crews continue to search for one person missing after an explosion and subsequent fire at Delong Dock in Whittier,...

Posted by U.S. Coast Guard Alaska on Monday, July 8, 2019

The explosion reportedly happened on a fixed barge, and the fire spread to the pier and then to the Anagalik, a 99-foot commercial fishing vessel that was initially reported to have two people aboard at the time of the explosion.

Whittier Police Department personnel have since confirmed one of those two is safely aboard a different vessel en route to Whittier.

The fishing vessel and barge sank in 85 feet of water at the pier with a potential maximum of 5,500 gallons of fuel oil aboard.

The fishing vessel owners have contracted Global Diving and Salvage for clean-up and salvage efforts.

UPDATE 6:00 a.m.

The Coast Guard says 2 people are missing after a fishing vessel exploded on a commercial dock in Whittier.

Coast Guard spokesperson Manda Norcross says a propane tank exploded leading to a fire on the fishing vessel the Alganik.

According to Norcross, the Alganik did sink and there is a 100-yard safety zone around the area

Norcross did confirm the fire from the explosion is out.

More information is expected to be released in a press release later Monday.

Original Story

The Whittier Police Department confirmed a boat explosion happened overnight.

This is a developing story and we will post updates as we get them.

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