Two snowmachiners missing, two return safely

Posted: Friday, March 16, 2001

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- Two missing snowmachiners have been located in rural Alaska but two remain missing in separate incidents.

Mike Wassilie, 47, of Akiachak remains missing.

Wassilie's mother told state troopers in Bethel that Wassilie had apparently left Friday night for Nunapitchuk, approximately 20 miles east of Akiachak.

Ground searchers were sent out from Akiachak and Nunapitchuk on Saturday night but poor weather and darkness hampered the effort. On Sunday and Monday, troopers and 30 volunteers continued the search on the ground and in aircraft.

By Thursday, the search had expanded to 125 ground searchers from 10 villages on snowmachines and six aircraft. The search is covering approximately 300 square miles and will continue as weather permits.

A second snowmachiner, Nathan Evan, approximately 29, was reported overdue Tuesday night by the Russian Mission Department of Public Safety.

Search teams left from Marshall and Russian Mission on Wednesday and found a snowmachine track that led to an open area of the Yukon River approximately 18 miles down river from Russian Mission. Volunteers were to drag the river Thursday.

Two other snowmachiners overdue on Nunivak Island made it safely to Mekoryuk on Thursday afternoon.

Bruce Richards, 62, and Abraham David, 43 both of Mekoryuk, left Tuesday to hunt musk ox about 40 miles south of the village. The two reported they had camped to wait out a storm and were in good condition.

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