Search efforts continue in Alaska where authorities have been working on two separate cases involving moose hunters. In both cases, individuals have gone missing along Alaska’s Lower Kuskokwim River.
One case involves a hunter who was by himself when he went missing. Last week, the hunter was found dead near his boat. The other missing person case is still ongoing and involves three hunters who were reported missing with their boat on August 30th. Bethel Search and Rescue (BSAR) has led the efforts to locate the missing hunters.
Daniel “Wun Wun” Laraux lived in Bethel and first disappeared on September 1st. Just over a week later on September 9th, his body along with his boat was discovered near Kalskag in southwestern Alaska. Alaska State Police are investigating the cause of death, but no details have been confirmed.
Shane McIntyre, Carl Flynn, and Justin Crow are the three people still missing. They were delivering supplies to a moose hunting cabin via boat on August 30th. They were expected to return home the same evening, but unfortunately, they never made it back.
Search for the Missing Moose Hunters Continue Among Difficult Conditions
As search efforts continue, authorities are operating under the assumption that their boat sank while sailing in rough conditions. Perry Barr, vice president of Bethel Search and Rescue, spoke to the Anchorage Daily News about the ongoing search. He said the night the three men disappeared its estimated winds were gusting south at roughly 30 mph. High tide occurred at about the time the men were believed to disappear.
“If that’s the water conditions at that particular time, then the waves could be at that time 5 to 8 feet in height,” Barr said. “And we’re talking about a KingFisher Extreme Shallow boat with about 30-inch sides and an inboard. So they have that kind of boat out in those weather conditions — it’s pretty dire.”
Search efforts continue through the area. Teams include flyovers, people on the ground, sonar-equipped boats, and a specially trained tracking dog. According to Alaskan State Troopers spokesperson Austin McDaniel, debris was discovered in nearby Straight Slough on September 5th. The debris included life vests, a shoe, and a flashlight.
Barr also said that he and everyone involved are still holding out hope that the men will be found alive. He also said a large number of people have volunteered in the search efforts. Either by providing monetary or food donations or by taking part in the physical search.
BSAR posted an update of their search on Facebook on September 11th. They wrote that nine boats with search crews from all over the state. They’ve encountered icy conditions all along the way, but the effort continues.
Barr noted further the situation has devasted the families of the missing men. An online fundraiser has been organized for McIntyre’s family who is moving forward with the idea he has passed.