Coast Guard assists in search for overdue hiker near Nome, Alaska

60 KodiakJUNEAU, Alaska — The Coast Guard, along with Alaska State Troopers, Nome Volunteer Fire Department and Bering Air, are searching for a 36-year-old male hiker who was reported overdue in the vicinity of East Fork of the Solomon River near Nome, Alaska, Monday.

A Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter aircrew deployed at Forward Operating Location Kotzebue and a Bering Air helicopter crew are conducting aerial searches along with numerous ground searches by Alaska State Troopers and the Nome Volunteer Fire Department.  Joseph Balderas was last seen Sunday before he embarked on a hiking excursion near Nome.

Coast Guard 17th District watchstanders received a report from Nome Alaska State Troopers requesting assistance with a search for a hiker who was reported overdue after he failed to show up to work Monday morning.  Balderas’ vehicle was found on the Nome-Council road about a mile south of the East Fork of the Solomon River in the area that he had planned to hike, fish or possibly run. Watchstanders directed the launch of the MH-60 aircrew from FOL Kotzebue to conduct a search of the terrain in an area based on information provided by troopers.

“All search assets continue to search the area where Balderas was reported missing,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Seth Caron, 17th District command center watchstander. “Anyone with information regarding his whereabouts should contact the Alaska State Troopers at 907-443-2835 or the 17th District command center at 907-463-2000.”

Weather in the search area was reported as 49 degrees, partly cloudy, with 9 mph winds.

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