Coast Guard searching for 2 seal hunters near Newtok, Alaska

Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter file photo by PA1 Kurt Fredrickson

Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter file photo by PA1 Kurt Fredrickson

KODIAK, Alaska — The Coast Guard is searching for two men reported overdue Thursday from a seal hunt near Newtok, Alaska.

A 45-year-old man and a 21-year-old man were last seen departing in a 16-foot skiff from Newtok and transiting to Kigigak Island in Hazen Bay. Alaska State Troopers reported that one man is wearing a blue jacket and the other is wearing a green jacket, with both wearing black snow pants. The skiff has a blue 41-horsepower Yamaha engine and the men have a VHF-FM radio.

A Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak HC-130 Hercules aircrew and an MH-60 Jayhawk aircrew along with a Newtok village administrator launched Thursday and searched areas the men could be hunting. A good Samaritan vessel crew searched Thursday where the Azun River meets the Bering Sea with no results in locating the men.

Coast Guard aircrews and good Samaritan vessels are continuing the search Friday for the men. The Coast Guard Cutter Alex Haley crew is transiting to the search area.

Coast Guard 17th District Command Center watchstanders received a report from the Alaska State Troopers Thursday reporting the two men were overdue from a seal hunt. The men departed Newtok Tuesday morning and were supposed to return the same day.

The 17th District Command Center watchstanders alerted the Newtok village manager of the overdue men, who then alerted good Samaritan vessels in the area to begin searching.

“The Coast Guard is doing everything we can to find these men,” said Chief Petty Officer Michael Haselden, Coast Guard 17th District search and rescue operator for the case. “We hope our search conditions are favorable today.”

Search conditions include 16 mph winds, 2-foot seas, 10-mile visibility, an air temperature of 41 degrees and a water temperature of 46 degrees.

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