By Melinda Munson

The Skagway Volunteer Fire Department (SVFD) received a surprising phone call early July 1. An individual wanted to be rescued from their car, in the ocean, outside of Dyea Flats.

According to Fire Chief Emily Rauscher, the subject fell asleep in their vehicle. When they woke, the tide had come in and the vehicle was filling with water. The individual climbed onto their roof and was able to access cell phone service to call for assistance. 

Seven members of the SVFD responded. A swimmer, tethered by a 300-foot safety line, was sent out to make contact with the stranded individual, but conditions made contact unsafe.

The subject was eventually rescued by private watercraft, taken to shore, and transported to Dahl Memorial Clinic. 

“Please remember to use caution when out on the Dyea Flats, due to extreme tide fluctuations. A good rule of thumb is, if you are seeing driftwood, you are in a tidal zone,” Rauscher said.

SVFD will be consulting with the U.S Coast Guard and Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation for vehicle removal and hazardous waste remediation.

“Everybody did really great putting 100% effort to provide a safe rescue for the individual,” Rauscher said.