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Search suspended for missing boaters in Bering Straits area

June 16th, 2017 | Shady Grove Oliver Print this article   Email this article  

The search for two missing boaters near Wales has been suspended as of early Tuesday morning. The U.S. Coast Guard had been leading the search around the Bering Straits area since Sunday, with other agencies and locals assisting.

"Coast Guard search and rescue crews covered more than 2,300 square miles in their attempt to find the missing boaters," said Coast Guard Command Duty Officer Adam De Rocher, in a release that day. "Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of the missing boaters during this difficult time."

The boaters were identified by Alaska State Troopers as Timothy Milligrock, who is in his early 20s, and Damian Soolook, 14, both of Wales.

Troopers received a report of an overdue boat operated by Milligrock and Soolook just after 5 a.m. on June 11, according to an online dispatch. The young men had reportedly left the village sometime after 2 a.m. the same morning and hadn't been seen since, though it was reported to the Coast Guard that they were "heard yelling for help at approximately 2:30 a.m." After the report came in, the Guard issued an Urgent Marine Information Broadcast.

The two young men were not wearing life jackets and had no survival equipment with them, the Coast Guard noted.

Weather posed a challenge for searchers who were faced with fog, wind, ice, and waves, troopers said. Search efforts were officially transferred to the Coast Guard the same day.

"Coast Guard aircrews must often fly vast distances to respond to calls for aid in Alaska's remote regions," said Chief Warrant Officer Joseph Ayd, in a release. "We greatly value the assistance and knowledge of local search and rescue responders."

Villagers searching the shoreline were not able to locate the boaters, the release noted.


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