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Kite surfer rescued from Turnagain Arm after losing kite

Wind surfers enjoy a sunny day along Turnagain Arm on Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2017. (Loren Holmes / ADN archive)

A 41-year-old kite surfer from Anchorage adrift in Turnagain Arm after losing his kite was rescued by other surfers Sunday and emerged unhurt, authorities say.

Albert L. Circosta lost his kite and was adrift for about 45 minutes in the water, Alaska State Troopers said in an online dispatch.

Just before 1 p.m. Sunday, other surfers in his party flagged down a Girdwood ambulance en route to a vehicle crash near Indian on the Seward Highway, according to Anchorage Fire Chief Jodie Hettrick.

Anchorage responders first pinpointed the rough location where Circosta was located, then tried to weigh wind, tide and other conditions to figure out where he'd end up, Hettrick said. Troopers contacted the Rescue Coordination Center and Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport police also notified planes in the area to help search.

Other surfers were having a hard time making it to shore due to windy conditions, she said.

The fire department launched a boat and personal watercraft, but Circosta got out of the water before they arrived on scene, Hettrick said.

In an email to the ADN, Circosta wrote that "I was able to be rescued and was afloat safely because I had a personal flotation device on."

Two other surfers reached him and pulled him to shore, troopers said. He was evaluated by medics and denied treatment.

Kite surfers use boards, harnesses and large kites to ride Turnagain Arm waves in a sport that's been popular for over a decade here.

The fire department gets a call or two a year related to kite surfers, Hettrick said. More often, she said, people call 911 when they see people out on the water at all — not realizing they want to be out there.

Correction: This story originally reported that Albert L. Circosta was not wearing a life jacket. Circosta contacted the ADN to say that he was in fact wearing a personal flotation device. The information that he was not wearing one came from an online statement from the Alaska State Troopers.  

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