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Tugatuk Family Files "Wrongful Death" Lawsuit Against Fishing Lodge Owner

Lawsuit alleges that David Taylor, 61, was "reckless" and traveling an "unreasonable" speed when his boat struck John Tugatuk's skiff last September.

DILLINGHAM:  A wrongful death lawsuit has been filed by the family of John Tugatuk Sr., who was killed in a boating accident last fall on Lake Aleknagik.

The accident happened on September 10, after 41-year-old John Tugatuk dropped his family off at the south shore landing and headed back towards the north shore in his 16-foot Lund to grab his wallet. 

At the same time, David Taylor, 61, the owner and operator of the Reel Wilderness Adventures fishing lodge on Lake Nerka, was passing through the narrows from Mission Bay towards the open lake in a 22-foot Wooldridge.

According to the lawsuit, one eyewitness reported that Taylor had increased the throttle to "get on step" just before he collided into Tugatuk’s Lund.  

Tugatuk was seriously wounded in the accident, and was transported to Kanakanak Hospital. His family later chose to have him removed from life support, and he succumbed to his injuries.

The civil lawsuit alleges that Taylor’s "reckless" and "unreasonable" speed and navigation led to the accident, and amount to wrongful death. Further, the plaintiffs allege that Taylor’s actions caused pain and suffering to John Tugatuk, and emotional distress on the survivors. 

The family is represented by Bethel-based attorney Myron Angstman. An amount of damages being sought was not specified.

According to a January 17 posting on its facebook page, David Taylor is closing down the Reel Wilderness Adventures Lodge. The announcement made no reference to the accident. 

Taylor’s listed winter address is in Hawaii.