Alaska Digest

Posted: Sunday, September 11, 2005

Alaska gets full shipment of flu shots

ANCHORAGE - There won't be any shortage of influenza shots in Alaska this year.

Alaska health officials say they have received every dose ordered, nearly 110,000 shots. Private clinics can purchase additional doses on their own.

Officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention noted has said four companies are lined up to provide vaccine this year. They said they hope the expected supplies will prevent the kind of shortages seen last year because of contamination and in other recent flu seasons.

But as a precaution, the CDC outlined priority groups that should be vaccinated first. After Oct. 24, shots may be given to everyone who wants them as supplies last, the health agency said earlier this month.

Teen drowns, two missing in Bering Sea

HOOPER BAY - One teenager drowned and two others were missing after a canoe accident in the Bering Sea.

The teens' canoe tipped over late Friday night about 100 feet from the shoreline near the Hooper Bay village airport, Alaska State Troopers said.

The body of 15-year-old Clara Wilson was recovered early Saturday about 200 feet from shore. She was pronounced dead at a local clinic, police said.

Hooper Bay police and search and rescue crews continued to search Saturday for the canoe's two other occupants: Joseph Tomaganuk, 15, and Daylon Tall, 16.

Troopers said none of the teens was wearing flotation devices, and they were using the canoe to surf waves just off Alaska's western coast when it tipped.

Hooper Bay is about 560 miles west of Anchorage.

Young gyrfalcon OK after ride with thief

ANCHORAGE - A young gyrfalcon was found safe Saturday after it became unintended loot in a stolen van.

The bird lives in the back of Kerry Seifert's van, which he said for years has doubled as a bird cage, of sorts. Sitka was tied to a steel perch in the back, waiting for her normal early morning training session.

But the van was stolen Friday morning.

Seifert had pleaded for the thief to return the three-month old brown and white falcon, but that didn't happen.

However, a person walking their dog spotted the van for a second time Saturday morning near Mirror Lake. The person saw the vehicle Friday, but connected it to the missing van after reading about the bird's plight Saturday morning, police spokesman Lt. Paul Honeman said.

Honeman said the bird was fine, and police were turning their attention to recovering the van's stolen items, including advanced life support medical equipment

Seifert is a volunteer emergency medical technician with the Chugiak Volunteer Fire Department, and carried a defibrillator and medication to assist with cardiac arrest patients in the van.

Gyrfalcons are indigenous to Alaska, Canada and northern parts of the Lower 48.

Searchers seek hunter missing for two days

CAMP DENALI - Police and Alaska Air National Guard rescue personnel continued the search Saturday for an Illinois hunter missing in a remote and rugged area of Southcentral Alaska.

The hunter, whose identity hasn't been released, has been missing since Thursday near Beaver Mountain, about 50 miles northwest of Lake Iliamna.

"The man is an experienced Lower 48 hunter, but does not have a gun or any known survival gear with him," said Lt. Col. Steve Politsch, a spokesman for the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs.

The man got separated from his three-person hunting party after killing a caribou. Politsch said the man's gun was found near the deer.

The Alaska Air National Guard's 210th, 211th and 212th Rescue Squadrons, based at Kulis Air National Guard Base, and the Alaska State Troopers were using airplanes, helicopters and rescue dogs in their search.

The area being searched is about 250 miles west of Anchorage.

Also on Saturday, a state police aircraft located another hunter who did not return to his Wasilla home Tuesday as scheduled.

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