Fishing lodge tourists perish Sunday evening

Two men died Sunday evening after their 18-foot skiff capsized near Level Island 22 miles south of Petersburg

According to an Alaska State Troopers press release, a United States Coast Guard (USCG) helicopter found Jonathan Comfort, 45, and Kenneth Rupprecht, 58, dead around 10 p.m. in the water and without life jackets near Douglas Bay on the south end of Kupreanof Island.

Comfort called 911 around 5:30 p.m. and told Petersburg Police dispatch their boat had capsized and they were swimming toward Level Island. Petersburg Police notified the USCG. Petersburg and Wrangell Alaska Wildlife Troopers also responded along with Wrangell Search and Rescue.

Alaska State Troopers Information Officer Beth Ipsen said the two men had been on several similar trips in the past.

“These two guys knew the area fairly well, but there is a strong current there, including a rip tide,” Ipsen said.

Alaska Wildlife Troopers recovered the bodies. They will be transported to the State Medical Examiner’s Office for autopsy.

Comfort was from Clayton, Deleware and Rupprecht was from Tamassee, South Carolina.

They were staying at Island Point Lodge in Petersburg.


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