Coast Guard suspends search after 2 hunters found near Newtok, Alaska

Coast Guard MH-60T Jayhawk helicopter file photo

Coast Guard MH-60T Jayhawk helicopter file photo

KODIAK, Alaska — The Coast Guard has suspended the search for two seal hunters after the men were located by good Samaritans near Newtok, Alaska.

A 45-year-old man and a 21-year-old man were located five miles south of the east tip of Kigigak Island. Coast Guard aircrews, four good Samaritan vessels, one Civil Air Patrol aircrew searched more than 40 hours saturating 2,018 square miles.

The search for the hunters began Thursday evening after the Alaska State Troopers notified the Coast Guard 17th District Command Center watchstanders that the men did not return from their hunting trip as expected.

It was reported that when the men saw a vessel’s antenna, they decided to fire a gun to hail the crew. Upon doing so, the good Samaritan crew heard it and went to the location of the sound. The men were found in good condition and were returned to Newtok.

“We are fortunate that these men were located,” said Chief Petty Officer Michael Haselden, Coast Guard 17th District search and rescue operator for the case. “Through the coordinated efforts with the Newtok village administrator, the good Samaritan boat crews and the Civil Air Patrol, these men were returned to their loved ones.”

Due to flooded waters, the 45-year-old man thought he turned into a river, but once low tide came, the 18-foot skiff became stuck in a muddy area. The men used moss to stay dry and a fire to keep warm.

The Coast Guard encourages all hunters to carry extra food and water, an emergency position indicating radio beacon, a satellite phone, warm clothes, life jackets if hunting on the water, and to notify friends or family of specific hunting locations along with an expected return time.

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