Pray for Ted's Family, Okay?
The Coast Guard suspended its search for Ted Lynch. That sad news came in a press release issued shortly before 8:00 p.m. Tuesday. Ted, a 62 year-old Haines fisherman, is my daughter’s father-in-law. He had promised to make the Thanksgiving turkey this year for our now combined families. Ted and I share a granddaughter, and between our families we have 11 kids. At the wedding last January, when I said I hoped the newlyweds would wait a bit to have the next baby (the first one was on the way) Ted smiled in his very sweet way, and said he hoped they had lots. He said it was the best thing he ever did. He looked at his children and beamed. His youngest is still in high school, and the oldest, Darlin, the stepdaughter his boat is named for, just had her first child, too, down in California. At one time all six kids lived on that commercial fishing boat. Ted lived and worked on boats his whole life. His family have been fisherman as long as anyone can recall. The Lynch family tree includes an old Swedish sea captain and a Filipino sailor who jumped a tall ship to marry a Tlingit beauty.
Here’s what happened, as best as I can figure, since I am in Anchorage, a very long 800 miles away-- with help from Margaret at KHNS, news reports, and our family-- At about 12:40 p.m., yesterday, Coast Guard Sector Juneau received a call from a Skagway police officer reporting that Ted had gone overboard from the 48 foot Darlin Michele in Taiya Inlet where he was shrimping. When Ted slipped his deckhand grabbed him by his life jacket, or maybe new suspenders, but the PFD pulled off and he fell into the water. He threw a life ring but Ted couldn't grab it.
It was sunny, breezy, and cold.
The search lasted all day, and covered 20 square miles between Haines and Skagway, mostly in narrow Taiya Inlet, and included a Wings of Alaska plane, area fisherman and boaters, a Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter from Air Station Sitka, a HC-130 airplane based at Air Station Sacramento, Skagway emergency response personnel, Alaska State Troopers, and a helicopter from a Skagway tour company.
They didn’t find him.
“It is always a very hard decision to make when you have to suspend a search for a man overboard,” Sector Juneau watchstander Nick Meyers said in the Coast Guard press release.
I wish I were home, but I can’t leave Anchorage until Friday, after the doctor (hopefully) clears me to fly.
The comfort right now is that new grandbaby, who has Ted’s smile, and his eyes, and who is still cheerfully being held by all the grieving aunties and uncles and friends and relatives because she isn’t old enough to know what’s happening. Babies really are a blessing. Ted was right about that. Pray for his family, okay?