JUNEAU, Alaska (WAVY) — A Coast Guardsman from Virginia Beach died on Sunday after he was found unresponsive in Alaska.
U.S. Coast Goard officials said in a news release 19-year-old Seaman Ethan Kelch was assigned to the Cutter Douglas Munro, which was in Dutch Harbor, Alaska for repairs.
Kelch was reported missing the night of Saturday, Jan. 26, officials said.
Coast Guard crew members and local authorities searched by air and ground before Kelch was found on the west side of nearby Amaknak Island. That’s a few miles away from Dutch Harbor.
Kelch was pronounced dead Sunday morning at a medical clinic.
A spokesperson with Virginia Beach City Public Schools confirmed to 10 On Your Side Kelch graduated from Cox High School in 2017. Family members sent 10 On Your Side a statement regarding Kelch’s death:
“Ethan was an incredibly kind and fun person who went out of his way to help people. He was a member of JROTC at First Colonial and joined the coast guard because he had an overwhelming desire to save lives. His death was a tragic accident and our family and friends are incredibly devastated. We love him and will miss him forever.”
“The Coast Guard is deeply saddened by the tragic news that we lost one of our own,” Rear Adm. Matthew T. Bell Jr., Coast Guard 17th District commander, said in a statement.
An investigation is underway to determine the cause of Kelch’s death, officials said.