Search Continues for Missing Teen South of Kotzebue

The search is continuing for 18-year-old Thomas Brown of Ambler, who went missing on Monday, January 16th while traveling to Noorvik from Kotzebue with traveling partner 18-year-old Josiah Ballot of Selawik.

AST reported that one of the snowmachining duo was located on Friday afternoon after a private aircraft located Ballot 28 miles south of Kotzebue at 2:17 pm. Troopers responded to the location via a DPS aircraft and transported the severely frostbitten Ballot to Kotzebue.

The search for Brown continued for the remainder of the day without results. The search involves both air and land assets.

“On January 16, 2023, at 12:29 pm, the Northwest Arctic Borough Search and Rescue Coordinator called Alaska State Troopers to report two people were overdue on a red and black Yamaha snowmachine traveling between Kotzebue and Noorvik,” according to the trooper dispatch.

Brown and Ballot had messaged friends that they were departing Kotzebue at midnight but additional messages showed then still in that community at 3 am.

After being reported overdue and missing, searchers from Kotzebue, Noorvik, and Selawik searched the trails and coastline for signs of the two teens. On Wednesday searchers from Noorvik, Selawik, and Noatak joined troopers to search the area between the two communities.