Donald Graham, 5/06/03


Volunteers find missing fisherman's body washed up on beach

The body of a 51-year-old Cordova man who'd gone fishing alone in Prince William Sound was found washed up on a beach Wednesday morning, Alaska State Troopers said.

Donald Graham apparently fell overboard and drowned, according to troopers.

Volunteer searchers found him at 8:55 a.m. on the shore of Windy Bay on the northwest side of Hawkins Island, west of Cordova, according to troopers.

Graham left Cordova on Tuesday morning on the fishing vessel Grayling. About 2:45 p.m. that afternoon, the master of another fishing boat, the Cricket, called the U.S. Coast Guard to say that the Grayling was traveling in circles in Windy Bay and no one was aboard, the Coast Guard said.

The agency launched a helicopter from Cordova, while troopers sent a vessel to the Grayling's position. As the copter crew searched from the air, troopers coordinated a search of Windy Bay and its shoreline involving 10 to 15 other vessels.

A person from one of the other boats managed to board the Grayling, a 32-foot bow picker, and shut off its engine, the Coast Guard said.

The Coast Guard suspended its search about 6:20 p.m., it said. Troopers, meanwhile, towed the Grayling back to Cordova.

After volunteers found Graham on Wednesday, troopers returned to Windy Bay and recovered his body, which was later released to his family, they said.

-- Anchorage Daily News