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Coast Guard Air Station-Kodiak launched an HC-130 Hercules and a MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter to Wales on Sunday in response to two boaters in distress and missing near the community.
Coast Guard District 17 Watchstanders received information that at 2:30 am on Sunday, two boaters, 21-year-old Timothy Miligrock and 14-year-old Damian Soolook, were in distress and calling for help. The two had went out in a wooden rowboat approximately a half an hour earlier. It was reported that the wooden rowboat had no life jackets or survival equipment.
When last seen, one individual had on a black sweater, while the other was wearing an orange jacket.
USCG launched assets and issued an urgent Marine Information Broadcast.The crew of the HC-130 Hercules arrived on scene at approximately 2:30 pm, and began searching. The Jayhawk helicopter crew arrived on scene a short time later.
“Coast Guard aircrews must often fly vast distances to respond to calls for aid in Alaska’s remote regions,” said Chief Warrant Officer Joseph Ayd, a District 17 command duty officer. “We greatly value the assistance and knowledge of local search and rescue responders.”
The Village Volunteer Search and Rescue Group from Wales conducted a shoreline search and was unable to locate the two missing boaters, it was reported by the USCG.
Search efforts have been hampered by fog, wind, ice and waves.
The community of Wales is the westernmost community on mainland North America, and is located on the tip of the Seward Peninsula. The village has a population of approximately 150 people. In the past, Wales was a much larger community and the largest in the region with a population of 500. Being on the whale migration route and at the bottleneck of the Bering Strait, Wales was an important whaling center, and the location of a reindeer station.