Missing Hunter’s Body Found in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park

by Courtney Blackann

The search for a missing Alaskan hunter ended Saturday. Officials from the area found the body of the 40-year-old David White by a river in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park.

White set out to hunt sheep in the park, an activity he took part in the previous year. While the man was alone, he was carrying a satellite phone which allowed him to communicate via texting. He last sent a text on his InReach device Aug. 12. White said in the text he was about to cross Jacksina Creek. This region is located in the northern section of the park and he was attempting to cross to reach a valley, according to the Anchorage Daily News.

However, after White sent that message, no one heard from him again. After a few days of silence, authorities were notified and they began a search of the area. A small air craft made passes over the park, searching for signs of anyone needing help.

While the initial search didn’t turn anything up, authorities grew more concerned when White didn’t return from his trip the day he was scheduled to come back, which was Aug. 19.

The search came to a halt, however, when White’s body was discovered alongside Jacksina Creek two days later.

“Based on evidence found by searchers, it appears that White attempted to cross Jacksina Creek and was swept away by the current,” park officials said in a statement.

Furthermore, the current wasn’t the only threat to White’s trek. The paths around the creek are overgrown with plants and brush. There were no actual trails around the area, park spokesperson Carrie Wittmer said.

“This is a hard environment — it’s just really unforgiving, rivers, especially,” Wittmer said. “Even if you know and even if you’re super great in the backcountry, it’s just really unpredictable.”

When Hunting Alone is Dangerous

In another incident earlier this summer, an elderly man was hunting alone when he fell almost 30 feet from his tree stand.

The man was able to make a brief emergency call, however, he lost cell service before saying where he was. He managed to say he thought he broke his back – before lying helpless in the wooded Michigan area for nearly 10 hours as searchers attempted to find him.

A Michigan Department of Natural Resources officer acted quickly though. He reached out to sources to see if anyone recognized the man’s number and located the man’s son, who knew where his father was.

After finding the hunter, authorities were able to safely transport him to the hospital to receive treatment.