Shishmaref Man Perishes attempting to Water Skip Snow Machine across Lagoon

Bert Iyatunguk. Image-Facebook
Bert Iyatunguk. Image-Facebook

Midafternoon on Wednesday Alaska State troopers were advised of a missing snow machiner in the community of Shishmaref on the northwest portion of the Seward Peninsula.

The call to troopers was received at 3:50 pm on Wednesday reporting a Shishmaref man, 32-year-old Bert Iyatunguk, had attempted to water skip his machine across an open stretch of water near the lagoon with a passenger aboard. Iyatunguk was unsuccessful and his machine sunk in the open water.

The passenger aboard the machine was able to swim to shore and safety but the driver did not. The community’s Village Public Safety Officer, along with community members immediately began a search for Iyatunguk but, he remained unfound for almost a full hour. When found, life-saving efforts were made and he was transferred to the community clinic where he was ultimately pronounced deceased.

Iyatunguk’s remains were transported to the State Medical Examiner’s office and his next of kin was notified.