Man, 20, Dies After Getting Stuck in Mud Flats While Visiting Alaska: 'Our Grief Is Unspeakable,' Says Mom
Zachary Porter died Sunday "after being submerged by the incoming tide" while stuck in the mud flats near Hope, according to Alaska State Troopers
A young man from Illinois is being remembered for his passion for travel after he died during a trip to Alaska.
Zachary Porter, 20, died Sunday after getting stuck in the tidal mud flats near Hope on the Kenai Peninsula, Alaska State Troopers said in a press release.
Alaska State Troopers spokesman Austin McDaniel said Zachary was walking on the flat with three friends when he got stuck just before 6 p.m. local time, according to NBC News.
“They were just going to have a little adventure before their summer activities started,” Todd Porter, Zachary's father, told NBC affiliate WMAQ-TV.
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Crews from both Hope Sunrise Fire Department and Girdwood Fire Department responded to the scene near Turnagain Arm, but their efforts to rescue Zachary “were unsuccessful,” state troopers said.
The Illinois man died around 6:45 p.m. local time “after being submerged by the incoming tide,” according to Monday’s press release. His body was recovered the next morning.
“Our grief is unspeakable,” Susan Rider, Zachary’s mom, told WGN-TV. “The world lost an incredible human being on Sunday.”
A second individual, who did not get stuck, was transported via LifeMed air ambulance to the hospital on Sunday, Girdwood Fire and Rescue said in a statement.
Loved ones said Zachary was an avid fan of traveling, according to WGN-TV and ABC affiliate WLS-TV
“He wanted to experience and enjoy the outdoor world,” his father told the outlet. “That was a part of his passion.”
Zachary was also beloved by members of his community, per WGN-TV and WMAQ-TV. He mentored both local baseball players and sailing students while studying Economics as a sophomore at Washington University in St. Louis.
Ray Del Fava, Zachary’s former varsity baseball coach at Lake Forest High School, described the young man as a “quiet leader” who became their “ace on the mound,” according to WMAQ-TV.
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Family said Zachary was determined to help improve the lives of others, according to WGN-TV. Elizabeth Porter, Zachary’s sister, said her youngest brother exemplified “the best in all of us.”
“He was the most kind, compassionate, hard-working, smart, driven, well-rounded person I know,” told the outlet.
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Troopers believe this is the first death on the Turnagain Arm mud flat in decades, McDainel said, according to NBC News.
Girdwood Fire and Rescue said both mud flats and Turnagain Arm tides “are unforgiving.” Those who get stuck are encouraged to “call 911 early,” and should not wait once they are stuck below the knee.
“Tides move very quickly,” Girdwood Fire and Rescue said in Monday’s statement, noting that “mud stability can change” on the flats depending on the day.
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