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9/26/2013
BehmCanal search called off

KETCHIKAN (KDN) — The U.S. Coast Guard has suspended the search for a Craig man believed missing in the Behm Canal area, after searching for 73 hours over a 514 square mile area.

The search was ended shortly before 9 p.m. Tuesday.

Garrett Hagen, who is in his mid-20s, has been missing for at least 10 days, having last been seen by his friend, Adrian Knopps, 51, of Lansing, Mich., traveling in a 7-foot skiff with attached kayak loaded with big game meat and furs.

The two men had taken the 44-foot fishing vessel Abundance into the Behm Canal area as part of a hunting trip. They left the boat at anchor and made landfall in a skiff. After killing game, Hagen loaded the skiff and headed for the Abundance. As the full skiff did not have room for Knopps, the Michigan man was left on the beach to be picked up by Hagen on a return trip. Hagen never returned.

The crew of the cruise ship Wilderness Adventurer discovered the Abundance adrift and empty in the Saks Cove area. Crewmembers searched the shoreline area but contacted the U.S. Coast Guard after finding no sign of the two hunters.

The Coast Guard deployed a helicopter from its Sitka base. The crew found Knopps suffering from severe hypothermia in the wooded area near the mouth of the Chickamin River, where it meets Behm Canal.

Knopps had moved away from the shore area out of fear that he would be targeted by wolves, his mother told the Lansing State Journal. Knopps had subsisted for roughly seven days on nothing but a few protein bars, the Lansing newspaper reported.

Knopps was flown to Ketchikan and treated for his injuries at Ketchikan Medical Center.

In addition to a MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter, the Coast Guard deployed a 47-foot lifeboat and the cutter Chandeleur, both of which are stationed in Ketchikan. Canine handlers with Ketchikan Volunteer Rescue Squad, crewmembers from the Wilderness Adventurer and family members of the two men also assisted in the search for Hagen.

Searchers found the skiff Hagen had taken, and the kayak it was towing, but no trace of Hagen.