Ex-fisherman pens book about Alaskan shipwrecks

By Arwyn Rice
Peninsula Daily News

PORT ANGELES — The latest book by Francis E. Caldwell, a retired commercial fisherman now living in Port Angeles, compares the extreme weather conditions of an area off the coast of Ketchikan, Alaska, to a serial killer.

“Sudden gale force winds, blinding fog and snow covered mountains, sunken reefs and churning, deadly seas, wait impatiently to test the skill, bad luck, and carelessness of trespassers,” reads the cover of The Deadly Triangle.

Caldwell, who lived and fished in the Ketchikan area from 1950 till 1965, recounts in the book some of the many wrecks and disasters that have befallen both seagoing and airborne travelers in the area.

“About three-quarters of them happened while I was there,” Caldwell said.

The term “the deadliest catch” given to the Alaskan fisheries in the area certainly applied, he said.

Some of the stories in The Deadly Triangle are legends or retellings of common stories from the area, including the deaths of more than 50 Tlingit tribal members who misjudged the incoming tide and became trapped.

This is the 11th book published by Caldwell.

It features maps and dozens of color and black-and-white photographs of the ships and planes that met with tragedy in the area that crosses the Alaska-Canada border.

“This is my last one,” Caldwell said.

The Deadly Triangle is available in area bookstores for $19.95.

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Reporter Arwyn Rice can be reached at 360-417-3535 or at arwyn.rice@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: March 26. 2012 9:42AM
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