Rural Alaska

Two drown on ice fishing trip in Noorvik

Two men were found dead after apparently falling through river ice on a fishing trip outside the Northwest Alaska village of Noorvik, troopers said Saturday.

Richard Patterson, 34, and Fred Melton, 44, had driven out on a snowmachine from Noorvik up the Kobuk River around midnight Thursday, Alaska State Troopers wrote in a dispatch.

By noon the following day, the men were overdue in returning, troopers said.

A search team was quickly sent out, troopers wrote in the dispatch. Searchers discovered a hole in the ice about 1.5 miles upstream, according to the dispatch.

By 2 p.m. Friday, Patterson's and Melton's bodies had been recovered from the ice, troopers said.

An autopsy is being conducted by the the state medical examiner's office but troopers are investigating the deaths as drownings.