Man killed by snowmachine
HOUSTON -- Alaska State Troopers are investigating the first snowmachine-related death of the season, which occurred Monday evening near Houston, north of Anchorage.
A snowmachine occupied by two people was traveling eastbound on King Arthur Road at a high rate of speed when it collided with Dominick G. Martin, 45, of Anchorage as he was walking along the edge of the roadway, troopers said. As a result of the crash, Martin died on scene from extensive injuries.
Eric M. Wilmes, 24, of Big Lake is believed to have been the operator of the snowmachine and was transported to Alaska Native Medical Center in Anchorage in critical condition with a broken neck, troopers said. The passenger on the snowmachine, Robert House, 22, of Big Lake was treated and released from Valley Hospital with head injuries.
Alcohol is believed to have been a factor in the crash, troopers said.
This is the first recorded snowmachine-related death for the 2001-2002 winter season, troopers said. There were 30 recorded snowmachine-related deaths (including one pedestrian killed) between Sept. 26, 2000, and April 28, 2001.
Lodge owner convicted of violations
ANCHORAGE -- A Yakutat guiding service was convicted Monday of violating the terms of the U.S. Forest Service special-use permit under which it operates.
Ken Fanning, owner of Yakutat Lodge, entered two guilty pleas Monday on behalf of his company. Fanning acknowledged that Yakutat Lodge failed to accurately report the number of boats it outfitted on the Situk River last year.
The company was fined $12,000 and was placed on probation for two years.
The Situk River runs through the Tongass National Forest and is known for world-class fishing, including steelhead and all five species of Pacific salmon.
Yakutat Lodge offered guiding services on the river under terms of a special-use permit. The company and 10 other guide services were each allowed to guide and outfit a limited number of boats on the Situk River each season. The Forest Service uses the permit system to manage the impact of commercial use on the river.
Two Napaskiak children missing
BETHEL -- The search continued Monday for two toddlers missing from the village of Napaskiak.
Tadia Evan, 4, and her brother Jaden, 3, were last seen playing on a sandbar near the Kuskokwim River at about 5 p.m. Sunday, Alaska State Troopers said.
A search was launched when their father, Max Evan, realized at about 6 p.m. that the children were missing. Villagers went door to door, and a state aircraft flew over the area but found nothing.
An Army National Guard helicopter equipped with infra-red equipment searched for three hours early Monday morning without success. Members of the Napaskiak search and rescue team began searching an open lead in the river ice near where the children were last seen.
Napaskiak is about 7 miles southeast of Bethel.
Officials looking for copter in Inlet
ANCHORAGE -- Crews continued the search Monday for the wreckage of the helicopter that crashed into Cook Inlet on Oct. 18 and for the bodies of two of those still missing. Meanwhile, an autopsy of the pilot yielded no clues to the crash's cause.
Preliminary results from the state medical examiner's office Monday found that pilot Bob Larson, 60, drowned. The exam also found that he had suffered several broken ribs and a broken leg. The report concluded there was no indication that any physical condition may have led to the crash.