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Bomb scare cancels sailing of state ferry LeConte in Juneau

The ferry LeConte docks at Juneau’s Auke Bay terminal. (Photo by Ed Schoenfeld/CoastAlaska News)
The ferry LeConte docks at Juneau’s Auke Bay terminal. (Photo by Ed Schoenfeld/CoastAlaska News)

February 10, 2021 by Jacob Resneck, CoastAlaska

An Alaska ferry in Juneau was evacuated early Wednesday after a man drove aboard the vessel claiming he had a bomb.

The LeConte was loading around 6:30 a.m. at the Auke Bay terminal for a round-trip sailing to Pelican. That’s when a man drove around the line of cars and boarded the vessel and threatened crew members that he had a bomb in his vehicle.

Both the U.S. Coast Guard and Juneau Police Department responded. Juneau police arrived and took the unidentified man into custody.

Coast Guard Lt. Chad Coppin said a 45-foot rescue boat was dispatched to set up a thousand-yard perimeter around the ferry as a precaution. But he said Juneau police searched the vehicle and arrested the man.

“It was a security breach — he shouldn’t have been on the vessel,” Coppin said. “JPD was notified and they came and dealt with it … I believe their bomb squad whoever that was came out and took a look. Our Coast Guard members actually swept the vessel and found no further credible threat. And so they secured the rest of the vessel.”

Juneau police said no bomb was found. A spokesperson confirmed only that the man remains in custody. His name has not yet been released.

The Alaska Department of Transportation said there were less than 10 ticketed passengers on board at the time. The LeConte’s sailing to Pelican — a village of less than 100 people on Chichagof — was canceled. It’s now scheduled to depart on Saturday, Feb. 13.