Bryan Anderson, Bristol Bay Angels basketball coach, killed in boating incident Sunday on Lake Alekn

Aug 21, 2017

Bryan Anderson, 35, Bristol Bay Angels varsity basketball coach, could not be resuscitated after falling into the lake returning from a hunting trip late Sunday.

This article was updated for the Bristol Bay Times - Dutch Harbor Fisherman newspaper.

Sunday’s moose opening in western Bristol Bay ended in tragedy when 35-year-old Bryan Anderson of Naknek died after falling overboard on a trip across Lake Aleknagik. Anderson was hunting with three others on the boat of Jack Savo, Jr., of Dillingham.

According to state troopers, they were boating back across the lake late when Anderson fell into the water.

“One of the passengers actually witnessed him falling off of the boat,” said AST Sgt. Luis Nieves. “That passenger immediately shouted to the operator, Mr. Savo. He maneuvered the boat to recover Mr. Anderson," finding him unresponsive in the water. Anderson was not wearing a life jacket.

The boaters pulled Anderson to shore and attempted CPR, then brought him on the vessel and headed quickly back to the launch at Aleknagik.

“They were met by local EMS, who then transported Mr. Anderson to Kananakak [Hospital] where they continued lifesaving measures until he was pronounced deceased at approximately 0250 hours," said Nieves.

Troopers were first notified of the situation a little past midnight. The state medical examiner requested an autopsy.

By Tuesday state troopers had not offered further detail on what caused Anderson to fall overboard Sunday night. Alcohol may have been involved, according to AST.

Nieves said the boat had the required life jackets on board, but at least Anderson was not wearing one when he fell in.

“Even the most fit person … you go into the water without a life jacket, that cold water is going to immediately cause you to take a gasp for air, which can result in people drinking water,” he said, urging people to boat safely and keep the PFDs on, not just in the boat.

Bryan Anderson coached the Bristol Bay Angels men’s basketball for three-and-a-half years, but “has been a part of the Angel’s basketball team his entire life,” said Bristol Bay Borough Schools Superintendent Bill Hill.

“Bryan will always be remembered on the court as a tenacious defender and his ability to drop the long ball from ‘way downtown,” said Hill. But where 35-year-old Coach Anderson really shined, he said, was working with the younger generation.

“His passion for the game and his desire to help young people grow both on and off the court were a potent combination. Even students who initially had no desire to play would find themselves on the court working hard for Coach Anderson.”

Hill said the positive impact and influence Anderson had on the team and the community will be “missed dearly.”

Reach the author at dave@kdlg.org or 907.842.5281.