ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Alaska State Troopers are investigating the death of a Pilot Station man overnight Tuesday after a Boreal Fisheries tender capsized on the Yukon River near St. Mary’s.
Troopers in St. Mary’s were alerted at about 9:30 a.m. Wednesday that the 32-foot-long tender was overdue at the Boreal Fisheries dock about 10 miles south of St. Mary’s on the Yukon. Its sole occupant was 23-year-old skipper Gerald Richardson Minock, who had last reported in at about 11 p.m. Tuesday. Weather conditions in the area Tuesday night were reported to be windy and rainy.
Shortly after 10:30 a.m., an AST aircraft from Bethel found the boat floating upside-down and stationary about four miles downriver from Boreal Fisheries. About 10 boats and 30 searchers began to look for Minock between Pilot Station and Mountain Village.
At about 12:45 p.m., two hunters reported seeing a body wearing a Boreal Fisheries life jacket floating in the middle of the river at the upper end of Thatcher Island, just below Mountain Village. Troopers retrieved the body, which showed no signs of trauma and was positively identified as Minock by his next of kin.
Troopers say Minock’s tender, a twin-outboard semi V-haul, looked overloaded according to a fisherman who saw it when he offloaded fish at about 9:30 p.m. Tuesday. The transom was partially raised out of the water and the bow was low, yielding only 6 to 8 inches of freeboard in the Yukon’s choppy waters.
Minock’s body is being sent to the state medical examiner’s office for an autopsy. According to troopers, alcohol does not appear to have been a factor in the incident.