Update 8:30 a.m. Wednesday:
Two missing snowmachiners returning to Nome from Teller were found dead Tuesday afternoon according to Alaska State Trooper dispatch. The victims were identified as Nome residents, 34 year old Charlene ‘Aupee’ Habros and 55 year-old Dustin Gologergen.
Next of kin have been notified.
Dispatch says Troopers became aware the pair was missing on Monday morning.According to dispatch, victims were found near their snowmachine, which had been spotted by an Alaska Air National Guard C-130 the day prior.
Two people are overdue on their trip back to Nome from Teller, a village just over 70 miles away with a population of nearly 250 (245) people.
Lieutenant Benjamin Endres, the Search and Rescue (SAR) coordinator for the Alaska State Troopers, said he received a call yesterday morning from Teller SAR reporting that a man and a woman, traveling on a snowmachine, had not returned to Nome as expected. He said when he received the call, they were over 24 hours overdue.
Sub-zero temperatures in the region have raised concerns for SAR teams. According to Lt. Endres, Nome SAR responded to the call yesterday but had to cease the search at the 23-mile mark on the Nome-Teller Highway due to unfavorable weather conditions. He says Teller SAR was unable to begin searching, due to a lack of equipment. A commercial helicopter was chartered for assistance, but the search was held due to weather conditions.
Lt. Endres said the Alaska Air National Guard deployed a C-130 aircraft from JBER in Anchorage to conduct an aerial survey of the area. He said the aircraft identified a snowmachine but no individuals were spotted.
As of this morning, Endres says the Department of Transportation is en route to the location where the snowmachine was sighted.
This is an evolving story and updates will be provided as more information becomes available.
Photo at top: Sunset on the road from Teller to Nome. (Photo by Carol Seppilu, summer of 2020. Editors note: this post was updated to reflect the timing AST received the alert.