A 23-year-old man died Saturday in St. Michael when the snowmachine he was trying to "skip" across a pond stalled and sank, troopers say.
Johnny Prince, of Kotlik, had been visiting family in the Norton Sound village, according to Alaska State Troopers.
Prince and a small group of friends were trying to drive the snowmachine across a pond behind a village school, troopers said. When the snowmachine stalled, Prince was unable to swim to shore, troopers say. He disappeared beneath the water.
The practice of "water-skipping" snowmachines -- or speedily hydroplaning over the surface of lakes and ponds like a giant skipping stone -- is a common, if dangerous, pastime across Alaska. YouTube is peppered with homemade videos of the practice, from Buckland to Kotzebue to Wasilla.
In 2008, a 25-year-old man drowned while trying to skip his snowmachine across the Colville River, according to reports at the time.
The St. Michael incident was reported to troopers at 10:30 p.m. Saturday.
Prince's body was recovered at 10:43 p.m., said Joseph Katchatag, a St. Michael Village Public Safety Officer. Health aides tried to revive him, but Prince was pronounced dead by Norton Sound Health Corp. employees, according to troopers.
By KYLE HOPKINS