Missing Kotzebue teen rescued, search continues for second

Search underway for 2 teens missing in Kotzebue area
Published: Jan. 19, 2023 at 12:51 PM AKST|Updated: Jan. 20, 2023 at 7:40 PM AKST
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KOTZEBUE, Alaska (KTUU) - Authorities are continuing to look for a teenager who went missing on Monday in the Kotzebue area after one teen was located Friday afternoon.

According to troopers, 18-year-old Josiah Ballot, of Selawik, and 18-year-old Thomas Brown, of Ambler, were reported overdue Monday afternoon by the Northwest Arctic Borough Search and Rescue Coordinator. Ballot was located by a private plane approximately 28 miles south of Kotzebue. Suffering from severe frostbite, Ballot was flown by Troopers back to Kotzebue for medical treatment. Brown was not located with Ballot.

The search and rescue coordinator reported earlier this week that the teenagers were unaccounted for after traveling on a red and black Yamaha snowmachine between Kotzebue and Noorvik.

“Messages from the party identified their location in Kotzebue at 3:00 am on (Monday) January 16, possibly heading to Noorvik,” troopers wrote. “Searchers from Kotzebue, Noorvik, and Selawik conducted ground searches of the trails and coastline in the area. Troopers have flown the Selawik to Noorvik trail and the Noorvik to Kotzebue trail in search of the two men.”

According to troopers, four planes are actively searching for the missing teens: three fixed-wing aircraft and an HC-130 flown by the Alaska Rescue Coordination Center. The ground search consists of several teams each from Kotzebue, Noorvik, Selawik, Kiana, Buckland, and Noatak. The search teams consist of about two to four people.