This Day in Coast Guard History – Sept. 23

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

1967-Coho Salmon Fishing Disaster- A severe squall through the Frankfort River Platte area of northern Lake Michigan. Twenty-five-foot waves generated by the squall caught off guard an estimated 1,000 small boats fishing for Coho Salmon. Between 150 and 200 boats were beached and many more were either capsize or otherwise in distress. During the next four days Coast Guard aircraft flew 33 sorties for a total of 55 hours. State and Local police provided beach patrols and private individuals also aided in the operation. One of the greatest problems faced by the Coast Guard was the confusion created by the hundreds of people unaccounted for after the storm, most of whom were not in trouble but had just not contacted their friends or family. Each report of a missing person was carefully followed through so that within 4 days it was determined that seven had been recovered and only one person remained unaccounted for. The Coho salmon which attracted the large number of boats to the area remained in season for another 3 weeks. During this time the Coast Guard maintained daily aircraft and small boat patrols of the area.

(Source: USCG Historian’s Office)

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