Good Samaritans flying near Noorvik find missing Selawik snowmachiners

Good Samaritans flying near Noorvik find missing Selawik snowmachiners
Published: Nov. 16, 2022 at 4:53 PM AKST
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NOORVIK, Alaska (KTUU) - Two Selawik fishers that had left the Northwest Arctic Borough community to check fishing nets three days ago have been found by good Samaritans flying near Noorvik.

According to Alaska State Troopers, 20-year-old Jane Kaiser and 41-year-old Timothy Snyder, of Selawik, left around 2 a.m. Sunday on snowmachines from Selwaik, and were found around 2 p.m. Wednesday.

Lee’s Sea Air pilot Lee “Bigboy” Staheli spotted Snyder approximately 16 nautical miles southwest of Noorvik near a channel of the Kobuk River.

“I spotted their wind-blown tracks on the river and followed them to a cabin where we found Tim standing on top of the cabin waiving us down,” Staheli said. “We were able to contact search and rescue in Noorvik and get them coordinates. Ely Cyrus was also out searching in his aircraft and we called him in to survey the area, he was able to land on the river ice and transport Tim and Jane back to Noorvik, the closest village.”

Staheli said that he had taken at least four flights to search for the pair over the last three days, and was joined by Cyrus, Alaska State Troopers, Bering Air helicopters and the U.S. Coast Guard in his search efforts.

“It’s a pretty cool feeling that you get when, when you get to find somebody alive after three days of being out in the country,” Staheli said. “It’s amazing the way our region and state come together for searches like this. The villages of Selawik, Noorvik and Buckland all had ground crews searching by snowmachine and on foot.”

After Staheli spotted the pair and Cyrus picked them up, both Kaiser and Snyder were transported to Noorvik.

“This is a very dangerous time of year to be traveling in our area. The ice is still thin in a lot of places and areas where the water is still open,” Staheli said. “The wind is unforgiving out here, it’s been blowing 30 knots for a day or so which makes it difficult to conduct searches. I’d like to thank everyone involved with the search the last few days, it takes all of us out here to make things work.”