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Snowmachiner dead of apparent hypothermia, troopers say

  • Author: Kyle Hopkins
  • Updated: September 28, 2016
  • Published April 19, 2013

A 52-year-old Quinhagak man died on a snowmachine trail in Western Alaska this week, apparently succumbing to hypothermia after driving into open water, according to a trooper investigation.

The body of Wilbur Small was found about 500 feet from his partially submerged snowmachine Wednesday on a trail between Quinhagak and Eek, troopers said in a report posted online.

A Village Public Safety Officer in Quinhagak reported the discovery to troopers at 12:34 p.m. It was not immediately clear when Small died.

A trooper traveled from Bethel to investigate, concluding that Small drove his machine into an open lead of water and got wet, leading to his death.

Small's body has been sent to the state medical examiner's office for an autopsy.

Quinhagak is a Yup'ik village of about 700 people near the Bering Sea coast, west of the smaller Kuskokwim River community of Eek.

Twitter updates: Call Kyle Hopkins at 257-4334 or email him at


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