Man stuck on Alaska mud flats up to waist drowns, police say

An Illinois man died Sunday after he became stuck up to his waist in Alaska mud flats and drowned when the tide came in, authorities said.

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According to a news release from Alaska State Troopers, Zachary Porter, 20, became stuck in the Turnagain Arm mud flats near Hope at about 5:52 p.m. local time.

Porter was walking with a group of friends when he became stuck, state trooper spokesperson Austin McDaniel told the Anchorage Daily News in an email. A friend immediately called 911; Porter was stuck in the quicksand-like silt about 50 to 100 feet from shore, Girdwood Fire Chief Michelle Weston told the newspaper.

Troopers said that Porter was “submerged by the incoming tide,” KTUU-TV reported.

According to tide tables, low tide in that area of Turnagain Arm was reported at 4:02 p.m., while high tide was at 9:44 p.m., the television station reported.

Turnagain Arm is a 48-mile-long estuary formed by glaciers that parallels a major highway southeast of Anchorage, The Associated Press reported.

Porter was already waist-deep in the mud when the first rescue crews arrived, McDaniel told the Daily News. Porter became submerged by the incoming tide and drowned at 6:43 p.m., state troopers said.

Troopers said that Porter’s body was recovered at around 6 a.m. Monday, KTUU reported.

“(Alaska is) big, it’s amazing, it’s beautiful, and it’s overwhelming,” Kristy Peterson, the administrator and lead EMT for the Hope-Sunrise Volunteer Fire Department, told the AP. “But you have to remember that it’s Mother Nature, and she has no mercy for humanity.”

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