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19-year-old with deep Northwest Arctic roots drowns after canoe capsizes on lake near Wasilla

  • Author: Zaz Hollander
  • Updated: May 26, 2018
  • Published May 25, 2018

The 19-year-old grandson of a well-known former legislator from Kotzebue drowned early Friday morning near Wasilla.

The canoe Bryce Adams was in capsized in Finger Lake before 2 a.m., Alaska State Troopers say.

Adams was a state champion wrestler at Colony High School in 2014. His father, Guy Adams, is executive director of the Northwest Inupiat Housing Authority.

His grandfather, Al Adams, a Democrat from Kotzebue, represented constituents in the Northwest Arctic and North Slope boroughs for 20 years in the state House and Senate from 1980 to 2000. He died in 2012.

Authorities were alerted of a problem on the lake near Wasilla after reports came in of a man screaming for help from an island, troopers said in a release posted Friday. They responded to the southern end of the lake off Driftwood Circle.

The canoe the two men were in capsized in the lake, troopers say. One man, also 19 and from Wasilla, made it to an island but Adams disappeared.

Mat-Su Borough dive team members and troopers searched for him.

Emergency personnel used Jet Skis to search the lake and troopers searched the island for Adams but found nothing, according to troopers spokesman Tim DeSpain. The canoe was located in the middle of the lake and brought back to shore.

His body was recovered from the water just before 6:30 a.m. Friday.

An investigation continues but it appears neither boater wore a life jacket and alcohol appeared to be a factor, troopers say.