A Seldovia man is safe after surviving a swamped vessel and an icy dip in Kachemak Bay Monday night. Fisfty-four-year-old Kelly Brennan was rescued by a Coast Guard helicopter crew near Port Graham after an afternoon fishing trip took a turn for the worse.
Alaska State Troopers say in a news release that they took a call from a friend of Brennan’s at about 8:14 p.m. Monday night. She said she’d had cell phone contact with Brennan and that he’d been stranded on a beach between Seldovia and Port Graham since about 4:30 p.m.
Brennan told his friend via cell phone that the motor had stopped working in his 12-foot skiff and that he’d gotten wet while coming ashore and wasn't dressed for overnight weather.
A Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew from Air Station Kodiak was able to rescue Brennan later Monday night.
Petty Officer First Class Sara Francis is a public affairs officer with the Coast Guard in Kodiak. She says rescuers aren’t exactly sure what caused Brennan’s vessel to become swamped with water but weather at the time of the incident was not ideal.
"Weather on the scene was reportedly 28-mile-per-hour winds and six-to-eight foot seas .... so it was quite cold," said Francis.
The incident likely would have been much worse for Brennan, if not for the fact that he had a cell phone with him and was able to use it to make contact with his friend in Seldovia.
Francis says the helicopter crew located Brennan just before midnight.
"We understand that he swam to shore and we picked him up from there," she said. "The helicopter crew landed on the beach and located him, brought him on board ... and warmed him up."
Brennan was taken to South Peninsula Hospital in Homer. He was treated for mild hypothermia and low-grade frostbite in his foot but was expected to fully recover from his injuries.