Missing hunter found dead

Alaska Air National Guardsmen found and recovered Friday the body of Robert Johnson, the Anchorage hunter missing since Sept. 4. Johnson, 38, appeared to have fallen down a steep ravine in the Brown Mountain area near Port Dick and received fatal injuries, Alaska State Troopers said in a press release on Friday afternoon. No foul play was suspected.

Guardsmen with the 210th Rescue Squadron in a HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopter first saw Johnson on a search today of the area. A rescue team landed near him and discovered he had died. Troopers and Alaska Air National Guard had been searching since Johnson’s hunting companion, Grant Gaberino, also of Anchorage, reported him missing by satellite phone late Sunday night. Severe weather hampered searches earlier this week, but pararescuers were able to contact Gaberino early Wednesday and return him safely to Anchorage. Troopers and the guard continued the search on Thursday and today with helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft. Units from the National Guard 211th and 212th Rescue Squadrons assisted. Troopers dispatched two helicopters and crews.

Johnson went missing after he scouted for mountain goats and failed to return to a base camp he and fellow Gaberino had set up in the Brown Mountain area in the hills north of the Gore Point peninsula about 35 miles southeast of Homer.

Johnson’s next of kin have been notified. His body was taken to Soldotna and turned over to troopers. His remains will be transported to the Alaska State Medical Examiner’s office in Anchorage for an autopsy to determine the exact cause of death.


Michael Armstrong can be reached at michael.armstrong@homernews.com.