Search in progress for 2 snowmachiners overdue between Kotzebue and Noorvik

a landscape photo, sea ice
Sea ice on the Kotzebue Sound on Dec. 27, 2019. (Wesley Early/KOTZ)

UPDATE Friday, 12:55 p.m.: Troopers said in an updated report online that efforts to find Josiah Ballot and Thomas Brown were continuing Friday, with private aircraft joining the air search. Anyone with information on their whereabouts is asked to call troopers at 907-451-5100.

Original story:

Alaska State Troopers and Northwest Arctic Borough searchers are looking for two 18-year-old men, reported overdue this week on a snowmachine trip from Kotzebue to Noorvik.

An online report posted by troopers said the snowmachiners— Josiah Ballot of Selawik and Thomas Brown of Ambler — told friends on social media they were leaving Kotzebue at midnight Monday. Messages at about 3 a.m. Monday morning located them still in Kotzebue, possibly en route to Noorvik, a community roughly 42 miles to the east.

A map showing Kotzebue and Noorvik.
A map showing Kotzebue and Noorvik. (Google Maps)

Borough search and rescue officials alerted troopers Monday afternoon, triggering an expanded search.

“Searchers from Kotzebue, Noorvik, and Selawik conducted ground searches of the trails and coastline in the area,” said the troopers’ report. “Troopers have flown the Selawik to Noorvik trail and the Noorvik to Kotzebue trail in search of the two men.”

Ground searchers checked trails and areas between Kotzebue and Noorvik on Wednesday, troopers said, with search efforts resuming Thursday. Troopers say the two men were traveling on a red and black Yamaha snowmachine.

Chris Klint is a web producer and breaking news reporter at Alaska Public Media. Reach him at Read more about Chris here.

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