A four-year-old boy was the only survivor of unfortunate boating accident on the Kobuk River on Monday, the Alaska State troopers revealed on Thursday evening.
According to the trooper report posted on the trooper dispatch, On Monday, 54-year-old Merna Sheldon, her son Albert Sheldon, 34 years of age, and her grandson, four year old Jim Sheldon, “departed Noorvik in a skiff to berry pick down the Kobuk River for the day.” the trooper dispatch reported.
The family trio did not return as scheduled, and on Tuesday morning, a concerned friend traveled down the Kobuk River in search of the three boaters. The grandson, Jim, was soon located alone on the riverbank.
The young boy said that when they were returning home from berry-picking, the skiff “began to spin in a circle,” and his grandmother, Merna and her son Albert fell out of the boat. The boy, Jim then reported that the skiff ran aground and he got out onto the riverbank to wait for his grandmother Merna and father Albert to come ashore. They never did. Residents from Noorvik, along with troopers and the Northwest Arctic Borough Search and Rescue initiated a search, and on Tuesday evening, the body of Albert Sheldon was recovered from the river.
Search efforts continued into Wednesday, and that evening, the remains of Merna Sheldon were also recovered from the river. Neither Albert nor Merna were wearing life jackets when found and both appeared to have drowned.
A GoFundMe page has been created to help the Sheldon family off-set funeral expenses at https://www.gofundme.com/2fqrwchw. As of Friday morning, $1,460 of the $5,000 goal has been donated.