Daryl J. Duell, 06-26-05

Search for man presumed drowned goes on

EKLUTNA LAKE: 3 men were in canoe that capsized late Saturday; 2 survived.

By PETER PORCO Anchorage Daily News

Published: June 27th, 2005 Last Modified: June 27th, 2005 at 01:32 AM

A Washington state man was missing and presumed drowned Sunday after he and two companions fell into the cold, mostly glacier-fed waters of Eklutna Lake when their canoe capsized Saturday night, authorities said.

The others survived without apparent injury, they said.

The identity of the missing man and his hometown were not released Sunday. He is 28, according to the Anchorage Fire Department.

Whether the man's relatives had been notified of his disappearance could not be confirmed Sunday, said Tom Crockett, a ranger for Chugach State Park, which includes Eklutna Lake.

The two survivors, one man from Philadelphia and another man from Las Vegas, left the scene soon after helping searchers narrow the area of the lake where the missing man was last seen, Crockett said.

They were thought to be staying at a home in Anchorage, he said.

All three men, who are in their 20s and 30s, and two other people had come to the Eklutna campground northeast of Anchorage, Crockett said. The three men were in a canoe borrowed from a local relative of one of their group, he said.

At roughly 10:20 p.m. Saturday, the men were in the canoe about a quarter-mile from the campground's canoe launch, an estimated 200 yards offshore, Crockett said. None wore flotation devices, he said.

The canoe capsized "for unknown reasons," Crockett said. "They were all above the water at that point. Two of them yelled advice to the missing guy. They told him to strip off any clothing that was taking him down and to swim to shore."

The commotion attracted the notice of several local military members who were fishing from shore, Crockett said.

"The GIs swam out," he said. "They brought the two survivors in, and at some point lost sight of the missing man. I understand that the GIs said (to others) that within two minutes of them being in the water, they were pretty much out of the picture and not able to function themselves."

The lake water, fed primarily by Eklutna Glacier, is colder than 56 degrees, which is the temperature of the Eklutna outflow eight miles downstream at the Anchorage Water and Wastewater Utility plant, according to the agency.

A female companion of the three men learned about the capsizing and ran to the campground host, who placed an emergency call. There was no clear line of sight to the area where the men fell into the water, and so it was unclear how she found out her friends were in trouble, Crockett said.

"The people at the campsite would not have seen what took place," he said.

Anchorage police officers and members of the Chugiak Volunteer Fire Department and the Anchorage Fire Department rushed to the campground. Some rescuers used jet skis to set a wide pattern around the location where witnesses and the survivors believed the man had gone under, Crockett said.

"They dropped a buoy and did several (scuba) dives at that point with no luck," he said. The canoe was recovered.

Rescue operations were suspended about 1:30 a.m. Sunday, the Anchorage Fire Department said.

On Sunday, an Alaska State Troopers helicopter, members of the Alaska Mountain Rescue Group, Alaska Search-and-Rescue Dogs and a state parks ranger from the Mat-Su district joined the others in the search.

The canoe paddles were located but nothing else, Crockett said.

The water is up to 60 feet deep where the man went down, he said. Authorities today may consult an expert in underwater fatalities to learn what happens to those who disappear in deep water.

The knowledge should "help focus our search," Crockett said.

Daily News reporter Peter Porco can be reached at pporco@adn.com or 257-4582.


Search for man in capsized canoe ends

A Washington man is presumed dead after a weekend canoeing accident at Eklutna Lake and the active search for his body has stopped, officials said Monday.

The Anchorage Police Department would not release the name of the man because next of kin had not been notified by Monday evening. He was 28.

Three men were in the canoe when it capsized Saturday night, police said. The two men who swam to shore and survived were Cody Odel, 32, of Las Vegas, and Steve Long, age unknown, of Pennsylvania.

The men were staying the night at the nearby campground when they decided to go out in the canoe, police spokeswoman Anita Shell said. The survivors told police the group had been drinking, Shell said. Nearly empty bottles of Jack Daniel's and Jim Beam were found at their campsite. None of the men were wearing life jackets, she said.

After the boat capsized in the cold, mostly glacier-fed waters about 200 yards from shore, the two survivors swam for shore while the man who is presumed drowned stayed at the canoe to look for his camera.

He may not have been a good swimmer, said Mike Goodwin, chief ranger for Chugach State Park.

Elkutna Lake is up to 100 feet deep in some spots, Goodwin said. The lake is about 12 miles long; in its widest spot, it is about one mile wide.

"It's one of those Alaska hazardous environments," Goodwin said. "Wear a life jacket. Bring them and wear them."

-- Anchorage Daily News

EKLUTNA LAKE - Police identify man who apparently drowned in weekend canoe accident

Alaska digest, Published: June 30th, 2005

Anchorage police Wednesday identified the man who died at Eklutna Lake in a canoeing accident over the weekend as Daryl J. Duell, 32, of Longview, Wash.

Duell apparently drowned after his canoe overturned about 200 yards off shore Saturday night. The two men he was with swam to shore.

Searchers gave up looking for Duell's body early this week.

Police say the two men who survived told them the trio had been drinking before the accident.

-- Anchorage Daily News

Alaska Digest
Published: September 17, 2005


Body found in Eklutna Lake identified as missing canoeist

A body discovered floating in Eklutna Lake northeast of Anchorage on Labor Day has been identified as that of a Washington state man who disappeared June 25 after the canoe he and two other men were in overturned 200 yards from shore, authorities said.

Daryl J. Duell, 32, of Longview, Wash., drowned, said Dr. Franc Fallico, the state medical examiner. A positive identification was delayed until this week when Duell's dental records arrived from Washington, Fallico said.

Duell had been missing and presumed dead since the canoe mishap. The others in the canoe managed to swim to shore and survived.

Alcohol was found in Duell's body, but it was hard to tell how much he had been drinking, said Lt. Paul Honeman, a spokesman for the Anchorage Police Department.

Police had said earlier that the survivors told officers all three had been drinking before the accident. Fallico said Friday that none of the three were wearing flotation vests.

-- Anchorage Daily News