Alaska News

Search ongoing for overdue boater in Interior Alaska

Search efforts continued Thursday for a man reported missing three days earlier after he didn’t return home from a boating trip in Interior Alaska, state troopers said.

James Burk, 67, of Manley Hot Springs, departed from the Nenana River boat launch Saturday and planned to spend the night on the river before arriving in Manley Hot Springs on Sunday, troopers said in an online report. A search began once Burk was reported overdue just after noon Monday, troopers said.

Local volunteer searchers used boats, troopers deployed a helicopter, and Civil Air Patrol and private planes were looking for Burk this week, troopers spokesman Tim DeSpain said.

Volunteer searchers found Burk’s boat submerged Tuesday night 3 miles downstream of the confluence of the Tolovana and Tanana rivers, troopers said. He’d been in an aluminum boat with a rear cabin and outboard, DeSpain said. The boat was recovered Wednesday, and Burk wasn’t inside, DeSpain said.

Village public safety officers from Minto searched the water using sonar equipment Thursday near where the boat was found as search and rescue dogs looked for signs of Burk onshore, DeSpain said.

Burk had not been found by Thursday morning, and search efforts were ongoing, DeSpain said.

Tess Williams

Tess Williams is a reporter focusing on breaking news and public safety. Before joining the ADN in 2019, she was a reporter for the Grand Forks Herald in North Dakota. Contact her at