Newtok Seal Hunter Reported Overdue, Search Taken Up

59-year-old Tom John was reported overdue after failing to return to Newtok from a seal hunting trip. Image-Facebook profiles

59-year-old Tom John was reported overdue after failing to return to Newtok from a seal hunting trip. Image-Facebook profiles

Newtok and Tununak volunteers,the U.S. Coast Guard,  the Civil Air Patrol and Alaska State Troopers continue to search for a missing 59-year-old seal hunter who was reported missing Monday morning, the Coast Guard and troopers report.

59-year-old Tom John was reported overdue at 11:45 pm Monday morning after he set out on a seal hunting trip on Sunday morning.

Soon after John was reported missing, his snow machine and equipment was located near the ice edge near the local seal hunting grounds. A further search failed to locate John or his kayak.

Bethel-based troopers coordinated with the Rescue Coordination Center, Civil Air Patrol, USCG, as well as local search parties and USCG and CAP aircraft combed the 1,400 square mile area from Nunivak Island to northwest of Hazen Bay in search of John Monday and Tuesday with no positive results.

“Volunteers from the Newtok and Tununak Villages, Civil Air Patrol, along with our aircrews and our state trooper partners are searching for the missing hunter under difficult conditions caused by ground and sea ice,” said Lt. Greg Isbell, command duty officer for the 17th District command center. “This case is a testament to operating in Alaska’s harsh environment even when the weather is ideal.”

According to the reports, John was last seen wearing a black coat and black pants. His kayak is described as a red and yellow single seater.

Alaska State Troopers continue to seek his whereabouts and request that anyone with information to call them in Bethel at 543-2294.