At 12:07 pm on Friday, Alaska State Troopers were notified by the Northwest Arctic Borough Search and Rescue Coordinator, Lena Ferguson, that two men, identified as 34-year-old Richard Patterson and 44-year-old Fred Melton were overdue from a snow machining fishing trip, and had not returned at noon as scheduled.
The two men had left the community to go on a fishing trip around midnight on a snow machine.
A hasty team was assembled at around noon to search the Kobuk River for signs of the men. After traveling upriver approximately a mile and a half, searchers discovered a hole in the ice.
Recovery teams were dispatched to the scene, and the two men were recovered from the river at approximately 2 pm on Friday afternoon.
The remains of the men were transported to the State Medical Examiner’s office in Anchorage for autopsy.
Noorvik, with its population of approximately 650 people, is situated on the right bank of the Nazuruk Channel of the Kobuk River, 47 miles to the east of Kotzebue.