Body found after gold dredge capsizes near Nome

A white and grey coast guard helicopter over cloudy skies
A Coast Guard Jayhawk rescue helicopter from Air Station Sitka participates in a training exercise. (USCG Photo taken by Petty Officer 3rd Class Wes Shinn)

The body of a man missing has been found after a dredge capsized near Nome last week, but another body is still missing.

Searchers found the body of 56-year-old Serhii Denysenko washed up on the beach about seven miles east of Nome on Sunday.

After the wreck on Thursday, 51-year-old Pavel Denisenko made it to shore in a life raft and called for assistance. Nome Volunteer Search and Rescue responded to the call for help just after 8 p.m. on Thursday evening. Chief Jim West Jr. of Search and Rescue reported Denisenko was taken to Norton Sound Regional Hospital where he was treated and then shortly released.

52-year-old Alexie Klutchnikov, the third miner onboard, has not yet been recovered. The shipwrecked crew was reportedly on their way back to Nome when the vessel capsized. West described the crew — three Russians whoo are not regular Nome residents — as part of Nome’s regular seasonal mining fleet.

Despite the difference in the spelling of the last name, AST spokesperson Timothy DeSpain confirmed that Serhii and Pavel are brothers. Serhii Denysenko’s remains have been sent to the State Medical Examiner’s office.

Alaska State Troopers are working on the case along with the U.S. Coast Guard who sent a C-130 out of Kodiak and a helicopter out of Kotzebue. Search efforts are ongoing.

The wrecked vessel is called “The Charlotte”, which West describes as a 32-foot long aluminum boat converted into a gold mining dredge.

West reported that 25 volunteers searched the shore after the news of the accident and found most of the debris washed up around 16 miles east of Nome.

“We found the life raft, we found the gumby suit, a life ring in the life raft and a bunch of mining gear,” said West.

In the early hours of Friday morning the vessel washed ashore.

“We were able to check the boat inside the hull to make sure that no one was inside or trapped inside the hull. It was empty,” he said.