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Rural Alaska

Unalakleet uncle and nephew missing on fishing trip found dead

  • Author: Chris Klint
  • Updated: June 14
  • Published June 14

Two Unalakleet residents who went missing on a fishing trip have been found dead during an air and water search near the Norton Sound community.

Alaska State Troopers were first told Sunday night that Peter Nanouk, 55, and Justin Nanouk, 35, hadn't returned from a trip toward Klikitarik, along the sound's coast to the south, according to a dispatch.

The U.S. Coast Guard said the men left Unalakleet on Saturday morning in a 22-foot, open-top aluminum ocean boat.

Coast Guard Petty Officer 1st Class Bill Colclough said Wednesday that Peter Nanouk was Justin Nanouk's uncle.

Searchers from St. Michael, nearly 50 miles southwest of Unalakleet, headed for Klikitarik on Monday in boats but weren't able to find the Nanouks. The Coast Guard sent an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter to the area Tuesday at troopers' request.

"On (Tuesday), the boat belonging to Peter Nanouk was located swamped and there were no signs of people nearby," troopers wrote. "The bodies of both men were quickly located near the Golsovia River on the beach."

The boat was first spotted from the air before the bodies were found by searchers in boats at about 6 p.m. Tuesday, troopers spokeswoman Megan Peters said. One of the men was wearing a float coat.

Searchers discovered a GPS locator as well as extra clothing, gas and food in the boat, but not a VHF radio the Nanouks reportedly had with them.

Troopers haven't determined if any specific elements, including weather, played a role in the boat's flooding.

"It was nice out on Sunday, but Monday the weather was rough seas, wind and rain," Peters wrote in an email. "We do not know when they went into the water so we don't know if weather was a factor."

Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly described Peter and Justin Nanouk as father and son rather than uncle and nephew.

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