Chilkat Valley News - Serving Haines and Klukwan, Alaska since 1966

Car found in pond at 14 Mile


June 28, 2018

Police, state parks officers and firefighters supervise as the drowned car gets lifted out of the water. Kim Clune photo.

A car was retrieved from a pond along the Chilkat River about 14 miles north on the Haines Highway on June 22.

Police were on the scene at 8:30 a.m. when Kim Clune, a guide for Rainbow Glacier Adventures, passed by the pond. Clune was on her way to drop off rafters farther down the road and pick up another group from 14 Mile.

Clune said that when she returned to 14 Mile about 20 minutes later, a fire truck, search and rescue team members, state parks staff and an ambulance were at the scene.

The owner of the sedan showed up while it was being pulled out of the water and said it had been stolen, said Clune, who did not name the owner, nor would the Haines Police.

Travis Russell from state parks searched underwater but did not find anyone inside the car. The window of the car was found open, and presumably the driver escaped.

Guides on the water were told to keep an eye out for anyone along the banks, but Clune said they didn't see anything unusual.

Doughnut marks left on the road in front of the pond indicate reckless driving. Rustin Gooden of Chilkat Guides and Clune both said they saw beer cans floating in the pond by the car.

Police declined to comment on whether or when the car was reported stolen. "The investigation is ongoing," police chief Heath Scott said. The car was lifted from the water with a backhoe using straps tied through the windows.

Correction: More swift water rescue techs responded to the scene at 14 Mile than previously reported. Ken Caldwell of Alaska Mountain Guides did a second search of the vehicle underwater to confirm Russell’s findings that no one was in the car, and helped Russell strap the car for retrieval. Additional swift water responders arrived to help but were no longer needed.


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