Update on Chena River Recovery Efforts for Missing Man

August 11th, 2014

Contact: Doreen Deaton, Communications Director

Tanana Chiefs Conference, Fairbanks Native Association, and several volunteers are continuing search efforts for 35 year old Andrew John, resident of Arctic Village and Fairbanks, who went missing in the Chena River near the Wendell Street Bridge on August 7th, 2014.

Over the weekend, up to 11 boats with crews searched from approximately 8:00 a.m. to sundown. Each boat was assigned to different tasks and search areas.

The majority of recovery efforts have been focused between the point-last-seen, just past the Wendell Street Bridge, and towards the opening of the Noyes Slough on the north bank of the river. Even though the bulk of recovery efforts have focused on this section of river, efforts have stretched from downtown into the Tanana River.

VPSOs and search volunteers are using a variety of methods to search including dragging and probing along the river and banks, search and rescues dogs, underwater photography, and sonar. Two recovery boats covered search efforts in the Tanana River.

Recent rain has contributed to increased velocity in the waters flow and increased the waters depth over the weekend, however current water levels are dropping. Over the weekend VPSOs consulted with hydrologists to examine water flow and better focus search efforts.

Monetary donations are requested to aid in purchasing fuel, oil, and supplies for recovery boats. Contact the TCC Accounting Department at 907-452-8251 ext. 3260 or 3149. TCC has set up an account at Key Bank, Account #20219000393, for donations. Checks may also be written to Tanana Chiefs Conference. Any proceeds left over after search and recovery concludes will be designated for the family for funeral related expenses.
Sergeant Jody Juneby Potts, who has been the Incident Commander for the search, is seeking closure for the family. “We hope that in our efforts we can do our part to bring closure for the family, and do anything we can to help in their time of need.” Jody went on to say that volunteer searchers are still needed and can report to Graehl Park.

“Everyone at Tanana Chiefs Conference would like to express our appreciation to the agencies and all the volunteers who worked countless hours on the recovery efforts. We would also like to thank all the community members who brought food, coffee, and supplies to the volunteers” said Victor Joseph, TCC President.

A fundraiser will be held at the Chief David Salmon Tribal Hall, Friday August 15th, from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Lunches will be available at a $10.00 suggested donation. Any donations are greatly needed and can be brought to the Tribal Hall the day of. The contact for the fundraiser is Peter Captain, Jr. at 907-347-6679.