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Missing Fairbanks snowmachiner found dead near Selawik

  • Author: Chris Klint
  • Updated: December 2, 2017
  • Published January 18, 2017

A Fairbanks snowmachiner missing since Saturday on a trip home out of Shungnak was found dead Tuesday evening, with Alaska State Troopers saying his sled apparently crashed through ice near Selawik.

Troopers said Travis Loughridge, 27, left Shungnak at about noon Saturday, riding a Ski-Doo snowmachine towing a plastic sled.

"Travis was expected in Fairbanks, via Huslia and Galena, as of (5 p.m. Monday) but no one heard from him," troopers wrote in a dispatch.

Loughridge was reported overdue to troopers at about 10:15 a.m. Monday. A hastily organized search team traveled to Selawik Hot Springs — the midpoint of the trip between Shungnak and Huslia — but didn't find him. More searchers from Huslia began looking for Loughridge on Tuesday.

"At approximately (7 p.m.), the ground searchers located the body of Loughridge in close vicinity to the Selawik Hot Springs," troopers wrote. "Loughridge's snowmachine was located in a nearby water crossing. It appears he had broken through the ice while attempting to cross and succumbed to hypothermia."

Troopers spokeswoman Megan Peters said in an email that she didn't have word on what communications gear Loughridge may have been carrying, but that "he has done the trip before and was prepared."

Loughridge's next of kin have been notified, troopers said, and no foul play is suspected in his death. Work to recover his body was "ongoing" Wednesday but may be delayed by the morning's arrival of a cold snap plunging much of the Interior to low temperatures of 50 degrees below zero.