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FAIRBANKS-After three days of searching, the Department of Public Safety is suspending its search for Patrick Hunsberger, age 25 of Fairbanks. Informal search efforts will continue. Alaska Wildlife Troopers will conduct periodical searches over the lake as well.
At about 4 in the morning on Independence Day, the Alaska State Troopers received a call of a missing person at Harding Lake, south of Fairbanks. Initially, a grid search was conducted by boat and a 10-12 member dive team from Fort Wainwright Fire Department was also in the water. Six PAWS dogs with four handlers was also employed. Alaska Wildlife troopers were also on the scene with a Supercub.
Alaska Wildlife Troopers have logged 80 hours with two boats in the search, additionally, they have logged another 10 hours of flight time with a Supercub. The State Troopers contributed 24 hours of searching. The Fort Wainwright Dive team conducted 14 dives in the effort. Park Rangers and Coast Guard Auxiliary have been out for the duration of the search as well. So have 3-4 PAWS teams.
Patrick Hunsberger apparently got on a jet-ski at approximately 1 o’clock in the morning and went for a ride on the lake. A preliminary search by his friends when he didn’t show back up was unsuccessful. They found the Jet-ski adrift on the far shore during the search. The key was removed from the machine.
The water conditions were choppy the early morning that Hunsberger disappeared. He was not wearing a life-jacket at the time of his disappearance and alcohol is considered a factor.