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Rural Alaska

Woman left stranded after snowmachine overturned dies in Southwest Alaska

A woman whose snowmachine overturned in Southwest Alaska apparently died of exposure after she walked several miles in the cold last week, Alaska State Troopers said.

Around 4 p.m. Thursday, 22-year-old Elizanna Anvil headed to Bethel from Nunapitchuk — about 25 miles to the west — with a travel partner on a snowmachine, troopers wrote in a report posted online. The pair’s snowmachine overturned and Anvil’s partner returned to Nunapitchuk alone on foot around midnight, troopers said.

Village and tribal police in Nunapitchuk and Kasigluk searched the area for Anvil, and Bethel Search and Rescue crews checked the tundra trail, troopers wrote.

Around 11 a.m. Friday, Anvil’s body was found about 2 miles from the main trail and 4 miles from the snowmachine. She was about 3 miles from Bethel, troopers spokesman Tim DeSpain said.

The temperature was minus 8, with windchill in the minus 20s, the Associated Press reported.

It’s unclear what caused the snowmachine to turn on its side, DeSpain said, and troopers were not notified of any apparent injuries to Anvil or her travel partner as an immediate result of the crash. Investigators believe the pair walked together before they separated, he said.

“How or why they separated is not known at this time,” DeSpain said Tuesday.

It appeared Anvil had walked alone for several miles before she died of exposure, troopers wrote.

Troopers arranged for Anvil’s body to be transported to the medical examiner’s office in Anchorage.