Official search for missing snowmachiners near Nome ends
Officials with the Alaska Department of Public Safety are ending the search for two missing snowmachiners from Teller who were last seen leaving the Northwest Alaska village for Nome about a week ago.
Alaska State Troopers spokesman Tim DeSpain said Tuesday morning that attempts to find David Miller, 38, and Rex Iyatunguk, 37, are ending after "a week of extensive searching."
The two men had left Teller riding a single Polaris 550 snowmachine at about noon on Feb. 25, bound for Nome about 70 miles to the southeast. The duo reportedly did not have emergency supplies or gear with them.
"Cabins along the trail and highway have been searched multiple times by searchers," DeSpain said in an email. "AST has engaged with searches conducting ground searches between storms. These storms have brought a significant amount of snow and snow drifts to the Nome, Teller and the areas in between."
DeSpain said civilian air assets and National Guard assets have flown routes and searched in those areas when weather permitted while the Civil Air Patrol worked with GCI to "understand possible search areas using cell tower and cell phone communications."
According to DeSpain, significant efforts were expended in areas the missing men were likely to have gone. Those efforts, however, were hindered by weather conditions.
On Friday, searchers had been trying to reach additional cabins between Nome and Teller where the men may have taken shelter. By Monday, DeSpain said crews still still hadn't "located any signs of them.”
Though the official search for the snowmachiners is ending, DeSpain said local volunteers will continue searching as they are able and when weather permits.
Chris Klint contributed information to this report.
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