Family fishing trip ends in two deaths in Alaska waters

Published on Thu, Sep 18, 2003 by Rebecca Schwarz Kopf

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Family fishing trip ends in two deaths in Alaska waters

By Rebecca Schwarz Kopf

A Blaine man and his father survived a boat accident last weekend near Sitka, Alaska; however, one brother was found dead and the other remains missing and presumed dead.

Tim Decker, 33 of Blaine, joined his two brothers and father for a family fishing trip on Saturday, and were setting crab pots when a line became entangled in the boat�s propeller and the boat capsized, the Coast Guard said.

Tim and his father, Ken Decker Sr., of Montesano, Washington were rescued after a fishing boat saw them on an island beach about a half mile from the scene.

His brother Ken Decker Jr., 37 of Bellingham, died and brother Jim Decker, 35, of Sitka, Alaska was missing at sea and presumed dead. A Coast Guard cutter was dispatched Saturday afternoon to search for Jim, as well as a helicopter from the air station in Sitka and the Alaska state troopers, the Coast Guard said. After two days, the search was suspended Monday.

The 21-foot aluminum skiff, named Teal, was carrying the four family members in Hoonah Sound, and sank about 50 miles southwest of Juneau, according to the Coast Guard.

The four men apparently had personal flotation devices aboard, but only Ken Sr. and Ken Jr. were wearing them when the boat capsized. The water was 56 degrees.

According to the Sitka police department, the family meets in Sitka each year to fish together, and have done so for years. Barbara Sayler of Bellingham, the executive assistant to Whatcom County Assessor Keith Willnauer, is the mother of the three men.

Arrangements for the two brothers are pending with Coleman Mortuary in Hoquiam.

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