This is news to this Alaskan who has done, does, and plans to do a fair bit of packrafting in Alaska.
My take is that Alaskans are among the best suited for doing UL packrafting up here.
I have several friends who are "PJs" and do the most rescues (I have actually never heard of the "Alaska Wilderness Response professionals") and they also packraft and race the Wilderness Classic, which involve the most UL packrafting trips being done anywhere in the world and they have not said pip.
Furthermore the former outdoors editor for the Anchorage Daily News, Craig Meded, also a long time packrafter and writer for the Alaska Dispatch, who made a name for himself deconstructing Alaskan wilderness, outdoor, and backcountry accidents and fatalities has not said squat either.
I work at a University with an Outdoors Study Department and they know I am a packrafter and they are well connected in the outdoor world up here -- not a peep from them.
Maybe you could cite some examples?
I live in Anchorage and have heard of only one fatality, on the North Slope by someone who was trying to cross a major river with an overloaded vinyl boat, no PFD and no dry suit (http://www.packrafting.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=708).
There was another trip on the Alaska Peninsula a couple years ago where very experienced boaters encountered a wind storm that blew all their stuff away.
Your friend may be exaggerating or may have information that's not being published or you're making this up.
If he could provide you with details, that would be far more informative.
Otherwise, I think your post is misinforming.