Bill Smith, 01-14-05

Alaska Digest

(Published: January 16, 2005)

Man missing for second day after driving between Kuskokwim villages

Searchers spent a second day Saturday trying to find a 30-year-old man from the village of Napakiak in Western Alaska who never made it home from an early morning snowmachine ride, Alaska State Troopers said.

Bill Smith left the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta village of Kasigluk at 1:30 a.m. Friday intending to travel the 20-plus miles southeast to Napakiak on the Kuskokwim River, according to troopers.

The trip normally would take about an hour, they said. Smith was reported missing at 11:30 a.m.

Napakiak Search and Rescue was coordinating a ground search in the area involving volunteers from several nearby villages, troopers said.

In addition to several snowmachine teams, crews in two state aircraft from Bethel also were looking for Smith, they said. A local radio station broadcast a message asking people to keep an eye out for him.

Friday's search was suspended for the night at 10. The search resumed at first light Saturday.

As of 6 p.m. Saturday, Smith was still missing, said trooper Andrew Merrill in Bethel.

-- Anchorage Daily News


Snowmachiner still missing

Daily News staff

(Published: January 17, 2005)

A search continued Sunday in Western Alaska for a missing snowmachiner, Alaska State Troopers reported.

Bill Smith, 30, of Napakiak, left Kasigluk around 1:30 a.m. Friday headed for Napakiak, a trip that usually would take about an hour.

But he may have changed plans. He was spotted later Friday in Bethel at the start of the Kuskokwim 300 sled dog race, according to a report someone made Saturday to Alaska State Troopers.

Napakiak Search and Rescue has coordinated a ground search involving Napakiak, Kasigluk, Nunapitchuk, and Bethel volunteers.

People searched with snowmachines, and two state aircraft also were enlisted. With the new sighting, Bethel Search and Rescue began looking for Smith, and the other efforts were continuing.

Troopers in Bethel ask to be notified by anyone who has seen Smith.