Snowmachiner Breaks Through Ice

by Ben Matheson on April 23, 2014

A snowmachiner went through the ice in a slough below Napakiak last night. The young bird hunter was fine, but his snowmachine was stuck in 10 feet of water. Mark Leary from Bethel Search and Rescue says the slough where the rider was parked had water on both sides.

“..and he got out to the ice in the middle and stopped to figure out how he was going to climb the other side. The ice gave out, and he went swimming,” said Leary.

A team today is back the site of the incident and will attempt to pull out the machine. Leary says the river is hazardous and changing every day.

“After it warms up, after the nighttime freeze, it changes every hour. What you see coming out early will probably be different coming back. There’s still a lot of good ice, but each day there’s getting to be more and more bad spots. Experienced travelers will be able to go out for a while yet. If you’re not experienced, you should stay off or travel with someone who is experienced,” said Leary.

Leary noted at least two places between Bethel and Napakiak that were very dangerous. Leary says a very important piece of equipment to carry is a rope. This time of the month brings large tides, pushing more water to the sides of rivers.

Search and Rescue will be working with troopers and river watch to survey the river in the coming weeks.

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