Coast Guard searching for overdue hunter near Newtok, Alaska

USCG File Photo

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Coast Guard aircrews and Alaska State Troopers are searching for a 59-year-old male seal hunter reported overdue in Newtok Village, Monday night.

The hunter departed Newtok, Sunday, on a snow machine towing a red kayak. Alaska State Trooper ground crews located the snow machine on the shoreline; however the hunter’s kayak was missing.

Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak HC-130 airplane and MH-60T Jayhawk helicopter crews assisted the ground crews with searching an area of approximately 1,400 square miles from Nunivak Island to northwest of Hazen Bay. Air Station Kodiak aircrews staged in Bethel  resumed searches Tuesday morning.

Watchstanders at the 17th Coast Guard District command center received a request for agency assistance from the Alaska State Troopers to locate the overdue hunter Monday afternoon.

An abundance of ice covers a majority of the search area and appears to move in and away from shore in conjunction with the tides.

“Volunteers from the Newtok and Tununak Villages, Civil Air Patrol, along with our aircrews and our state trooper partners are searching for the missing hunter under difficult conditions caused by ground and sea ice,” said Lt. Greg Isbell, command duty officer for the 17th District command center. “This case is a testament to operating in Alaska’s harsh environment even when the weather is ideal.”

Weather on scene was clear skies with 11.5-mph winds and 11.5 miles visibility.

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