Troopers waiting out Whittier weather to search for missing boater

Published: Dec. 3, 2021 at 12:09 PM AKST|Updated: Dec. 3, 2021 at 1:32 PM AKST
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WHITTIER, Alaska (KTUU) - Alaska State Troopers are waiting for a less intense weather window to continue their search efforts for a missing boater near Whittier.

Troopers told Alaska’s News Source that high winds and freezing spray of the search area in Passage Canal are hampering efforts to find 28-year-old Luki Akelkok of Dillingham. The U.S. Coast Guard on Wednesday night recovered the body of Anchorage resident Stefan Weingarth, 28. The two men were reported missing Wednesday night by Cordova Police, who alerted the U.S. Coast Guard.

The Coast Guard has since suspended their search efforts as of 10 p.m. Thursday, according to Petty Officer 2nd Class Melissa McKenzie, and the search and rescue by the Coast Guard is no longer considered active.

Troopers wrote on Friday that they “remain optimistic.”

Troopers also reported that the Division of Alaska Wildlife Troopers is conducting the primary search efforts, including the shoreline in the area. Trooper spokesperson Tim DeSpain said that search and rescue efforts “will continue as weather permits.”

The two men had been making their way back to Whittier from a hunting trip on Esther Island when they encountered bad weather.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to include additional information.

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