Fatal Accident Summaries|
July 4, 2006
An Independence Day celebration in Anchor Point turned tragic early Tuesday morning, after a partier drowned in a pond-filled gravel pit roughly 100 feet wide and 100 yards long. Allen R. Chapman, 25, of Anchor Point, briefly struggled in the water and then sank after a small motor boat he was riding in submerged in the pond, located near Mile 2 of North Fork Road. A second passenger had been riding in the boat, but was able to safely swim to shore.
Witnesses told Alaska State Troopers the boat's two occupants were not wearing life jackets and had been drinking alcohol and playing around on the boat, when they took a sharp turn, tipped the boat and sank, said trooper Mike Henry.
Troopers received a call reporting the incident at 1:24 a.m. Multiple attempts to rescue Chapman by friends and emergency responders failed, and when his body was finally recovered from the bottom of the pond at approximately 4 a.m. he was declared deceased.
�The time element was way too long,� said Bob Craig, assistant fire chief and fire department administrator at the Anchor Point Fire Department.'(And) it turned into more of just a recovery operation than a rescue.�
Troopers and the Anchor Point Fire Department had been the first emergency responders to arrive on the scene, followed by a Central Emergency Services boat and dive team.
Just as CES responders were about to dive into the pond to find Chapman, however, an Anchor Point firefighter recovered his body. The firefighter recovered the Chapman using ropes and chains attached to hooks, Craig said.
Search efforts to find Chapman were complicated by the depth of the water and light conditions, Craig said. 'It wasn�t pitch dark, but you couldn�t see what you wanted to see,� he said.
Henry estimated the pond was approximately 20 feet deep. In addition, water clarity also made it difficult to find Chapman. 'The water was extremely murky,� Henry said.'Visibility was roughly a foot to two feet.�
Henry said there were approximately 20 partiers at the scene when troopers arrived and that the party involved both adult and juvenile drinking alcohol. (Source: Peninsula Clarion/Alaska)