Southeast girl missing since Sunday found alive and well

Casey Grove

Searchers found a 13-year-old girl Tuesday after she was missing for two days in strong wind and rain on Southeast Alaska's Prince of Wales Island, according to Alaska State Troopers.

Troopers say Makayla McRoberts set out on a hike Sunday from the town of Port Protection, at the island's northwest tip. She did not return by 5 p.m. as expected. Someone reported McRoberts -- new to Alaska and not familiar with the area -- missing about 9:30 p.m., troopers said.

With about 50 people on her trail, McRoberts turned up about noon Tuesday, troopers said.

The teenager was supposed to return from her hike to help her father stack firewood, said Chris John of the Ketchikan Volunteer Rescue Squad, one of several groups helping look for the teenager. McRoberts' hike started on a boardwalk in the small community, John said.

Volunteers picked up the search with dogs early Monday, troopers said, and a Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter equipped with a heat-sensing camera scanned the area from the air. The Alaska Army National Guard in Juneau later sent a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter to join the search, troopers said.

Snow blocked nearby roads and poor weather made for difficult flying Monday, John said. Wind and rain had given way to just wind by Tuesday, he said.

"It's been really bad, up until last night," John said. "It's cleared up today, but windy, and it's making air operations a little difficult. At least it's not sideways rain and gusting."

John said more than 50 people were involved in the search and that 40 of them lived in Port Protection, which, according to state records, has only about 50 residents. The 4-square-mile search area included marshy areas and hills at an elevation of 100 to 200 feet, he said.

Ground searchers found McRoberts alive and well about noon Tuesday, Peters said. The teenager reported no injuries, but a Coast Guard helicopter crew planned to evaluate her just in case, Peters said.


Reach Casey Grove at or 257-4589.

Anchorage Daily News