Missing Scammon Bay man found wet and cold by search party

by Shane Iverson on January 3, 2011

Missing was Neil Aguchak of Scammon Bay. According to Roy Atchak of Chevak Search and Rescue, Aguchak left Chevak headed towards Scammon Bay early on Saturday morning.

When he didn’t show up that morning, Chevak search and rescue sent a hasty search team to look for him. Atchak says visibility was poor in the area with blowing snow. Searchers were concerned that Aguchak may have gotten lost.

The ground trip between the two villages is about 32 miles. Much of it is bare tundra. There are no trees to take shelter under, or with which to make fires. Atchak says because of that, search teams in the coastal area leave immediately when a traveler doesn’t show up on time.

The Saturday morning search turned up a few clues. The Chevak team went to a known shelter in the area to see if Aguchak would turn up there. . . but he didn’t.

By then conditions had warmed, and the falling snow was turning wet. Searchers exhausted the day looking for him.

The next morning, on Sunday, teams deployed from Chevak, Scammon Bay and Hooper Bay. Sometime shortly after 12 -noon on Sunday, one of the search teams from Chevak saw a snowmachine, and then Aguchak near by.

Atchak says Aguchak was found in a bushy area about 6 miles away from Chevak. It appeared his snow machine had overturned in wet heavy snow.

Aguchak was weak from being wet and cold but the bushes afforded him a little protection, for the day and half he spent outside. But he is now safe.

Atchak says it took teamwork between all of the search teams to find Aguchak in time.

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