California woman killed in southeast Alaska after skiff and fishing boat collide

June 8 — A 73-year-old California woman died Wednesday after a 58-foot fishing boat collided with a 20-foot skiff in the Wrangell Narrows, throwing her and another person into the water, officials said. announced the US Coast Guard.

On Friday, an Alaska State Troops spokesperson identified the woman as Susan Paul.

Authorities said a rescue call reporting a person in the water came in before 9 a.m. Wednesday.

A good Samaritan rescued the other person aboard the skiff, but Paul was not immediately found, the Coast Guard said. A search and rescue diver from St. Petersburg found her body inside the sunken boat after several hours of searching, they said.

The other person rescued from the collision was taken to a hospital for treatment of minor injuries and hypothermia, according to St. Petersburg public radio KFSK. The Coast Guard is investigating.

The cause of the collision was not immediately clear.

The Narrows is a 22-mile strait between Wrangell and Petersburg. Authorities said search efforts included Coast Guard Air Station Sitka and the Cutter Elderberry; search and rescue teams from Wrangell and Petersburg; soldiers; and many good Samaritans.

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