A Pilot Station man is dead after a 32-foot tender he was piloting flipped over in the Yukon River.Alaska State Troopers are reporting the pilot as 23-year-old Gerald Richardson Minock. They say he was the only one on board when the boat turned upside down sometime Tuesday night or, more likely, early Wednesday morning.
The tender was found by a trooper caravan at about 10:40 on Wednesday morning. It was flipped upside down and stationary four miles below its destination.
The boat belongs to Boreal Fisheries, a small-scale fish buyer operating out of St. Mary’s in the lower river. The tender was loaded with fish and headed to the fish buyer’s dock.
About ten volunteer boats filled with 30 searchers began looking for Minock. Early, that Wednesday afternoon two hunters below Mountain Village located his body floating in the Yukon waters. Minock was wearing a life jacket.
Troopers say there were no obvious signs of trauma and alcohol does not appear to be a factor in the incident.
An initial investigation by troopers is indicating that the tender was overloaded with fish.
Troopers say they talked with a fisherman who observed the boat before it set off toward the dock. He told Troopers that the transom was only partially out of the water and the bow of the boat appeared to be low as well, with just 6-8 inches of free board showing in the rough Yukon waters.
Weather conditions at the time were windy and rainy.
Minock’s body will be sent to the State Medical Examiners Office in Anchorage for an autopsy.