Search Efforts on Chatanika River Suspended for Fairbanks Man Swept Downriver

Search efforts for a Fairbanks man who was swept downriver on Friday were suspended on Monday after an extensive search troopers say.

On Friday afternoon troopers based in Fairbanks were notified that 27-year-old Junior Leota had crashed into the Chatanika River at Olnes Pond while on an ATV and had been swept downriver by the current.

Patrol Troopers, AWT, Helo 2, State Parks Rangers, Steese Volunteer Fire and EMS and Fort Wainwright Fire and EMS immediately responded and took up the search for the missing man.

A search was conducted by air, watercraft, and ground throughout the weekend, covering an area that included up to eight miles downriver from the point where Leota was last seen.

After the area was searched by as many as 100 volunteers in conjunction with the several agencies, the search was suspended as the search is reassessed. Troopers say the search for Leota will resume as river conditions improve.

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