Michael Diverty 10-23-09

Search on for Sitka fisherman
TIMELINE: Owner was last seen Friday at noon; boat was found empty later that night.

By DON HUNTER, dhunter@adn.com Published: October 24th, 2009

A multiple agency search was under way Saturday for a man whose fishing boat was found grounded on an island about 20 miles north of Sitka.

A Coast Guard Jayhawk helicopter and the cutter Naushon, assisted by the crew of another fishing vessel, the Brant, searched an area about six miles wide and 15 miles long Saturday for Michael Diverty of Sitka. Alaska State Troopers and Sitka Mountain Rescue joined the effort.

Diverty was last seen aboard his 32-foot boat, the Miss Dee Dee, as he left Sitka about noon on Friday, the Coast Guard said in a news release. The crew of the Brant found the Miss Dee Dee aground in Schultz Cove in Fish Bay with the engines still running at about 7 p.m. Friday. No one was aboard.

The Brant's crew found a lifeboat and life-saving equipment were still aboard the Miss Dee Dee.

Troopers are examining the Miss Dee Dee to try to understand what might have happened, and a Sitka Mountain Rescue team with a dog is combing the shoreline in case Diverty made it ashore.

Diverty's son was expected to arrive later Saturday to take charge of the Miss Dee Dee. No pollutants were spilled because of the grounding, the Coast Guard said.

Coast Guard calls off search for fisherman
SITKA: His vessel was found aground on an island without him.

The Associated Press, Published: October 25th, 2009

The Coast Guard suspended its search Sunday for a man believed to have fallen overboard from his fishing boat in Fish Bay near Sitka.

The Coast Guard, assisted by a crew member from another boat, began the search Saturday for Michael Diverty, 51, of Sitka, missing from the 32-foot fishing vessel Miss Dee Dee.

According to the Coast Guard, Diverty left Sitka on Friday afternoon. The Miss Dee Dee was spotted grounded on an island about 20 miles north of Sitka on Friday evening. The engines were still running but no one was aboard. A lifeboat and lifesaving equipment were still on board.

A Coast Guard helicopter and cutter searched an area about six miles wide and 15 miles long. A Sitka Mountain Rescue team with a dog also searched the shoreline of Piper Island.

The Coast Guard on Sunday used a cutter to search the shoreline for about two hours, said Todd Buck, operations controller for the Coast Guard in Juneau.

"They didn't have any results," he said.

The search was in the same area of Fish Bay. Buck said that was where modeling indicated a body in the water would have drifted.

The Mountain Rescue group also finished its search. Piper Island is near a mooring buoy that Diverty was likely trying to tie on to when he fell overboard, Buck said.

Diverty's family retrieved the boat on Sunday and took it to Sitka.