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Divers from Juneau were scheduled to fly to Harlequin Lake this morning to recover the body of a Juneau man presumed dead after falling through the ice Saturday, Alaska State Troopers reported.
Michael Nelson, 30, had made plans to ski from Yakutat to Haines Junction, Yukon Territory, with Mike Miller, 41, of Juneau. Troopers reported that Miller told them he and Nelson attempted to cross the lake, about 31 miles east of Yakutat, on skis.
Trooper spokesman Greg Wilkinson said the U.S. Forest Service, in charge of recovering the body, had hired Temsco Helicopters to fly members of the Southeast Alaska Aquatic Safety Team to the lake this morning.
Nelson and Miller broke through the ice on four occasions, Miller told troopers. He said he was able to make it back to the ice after breaking into the lake and listened for Nelson for about 15 minutes. No longer hearing him, Miller hiked five miles to a U.S. Forest Service cabin, where he signaled Les Hartley, the owner of Alsek Air Service, who was flying over, looking for Nelson and Miller shortly after 6:30 p.m.
Hartley told troopers he observed a sled on the ice where Miller had broken through. Miller told him Nelson had a sled tied to his waist and was weighted down with a backpack when he went under.