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Crabber survives drifting in boat that ran out of fuel

The Swinomish man spent several days stranded offshore, followed by six days detained in Canada

MT. VERNON, Wash. (AP) — A citizen of the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community reported missing in mid-August is back home after spending several days stranded in a boat that ran out of fuel followed by six days detained in Canada.  

Michael Smith Jr. set out Aug. 17 intending to prepare for crab fishing the next day around Blaine. He was last seen on the boat, an 18-foot skiff, south of Lummi Island about 4 p.m. that day.

Shortly after that the boat ran out of fuel and Smith drifted into Boundary Bay, a low-traffic body of water near the international border, the Skagit Valley Herald reported.

"(Smith) was unable to hail any assistance," Swinomish Police Department Lt. Earl Cowan said in a statement.

Smith spent three nights drifting with no food or water, Cowan said.

On Aug. 20, Smith reached land and climbed over a dike in the city of Delta, according to the Swinomish Police Department.

"He got ahold of family and the family advised us that he was OK," Cowan said.

Smith was then detained by the Canada Border Services Agency.

Area tribal police departments, people from multiple tribes, and the U.S. Coast Guard had searched Washington waters for him.

"Our entire extended Tribal Family was doing all they could to bring Michael (Smith) back to his loved ones," Cowan said.

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