SAR volunteers find two missing women
Two women reported missing on Friday morning were found uninjured on Friday at 4:15 p.m. near mile 28 of the Kougarok Road. According to an Alaska State Trooper dispatch, Jenna Pixey, 28, of Eagle River and Angel Garcia, 22, of Anchorage were reported missing on Friday at 11:20 a.m. A police report says the two Office of Children Services workers failed to show up for work at the court and a blue, state-owned Ford Expedition was also missing. Since the two women didn’t let anybody know that they embarked on a road trip on Thursday night, NPD officers initiated a search within the city limits of Nome. Coming up without results, NPD requested assistance from the Alaska State Troopers.
AST authorized a Search and Rescue operation and Nome Volunteer Fire and Ambulance Department volunteers swarmed out in different directions to look for them on Friday. According to Jim West Jr., Nome Volunteer Fire Department and Search and Rescue chief, 22 volunteers were involved in the search. West Jr. reported that searchers got as far as mile 44 on the Nome-Teller Highway and didn’t find anything. Another search party went in the opposite direction, the Nome-Council Highway and got up to mile 53 without finding them. A third search party went up the Kougarok Road and made it up to mile 21 before conditions didn’t allow any further car traffic. West Jr. said he requested the use of a Bering Air helicopter and eventually got the helicopter in the air, piloted by Russell Rowe, with spotters Erica Wieler, Dale Ellanna and EMT Aaron Cooper on board. West Jr. said they flew up the Kougarok and near mile 28, they saw flashlights flashing at the helicopter from a cabin and when the aircraft landed, the two women were walking towards them. They had no injuries. West said, they left two took a road trip up the Kougarok Road to look for northern lights on Thursday night. They got the car stuck in deep snow and spent the night in the running vehicle until it ran out of gas. Then they started walking. The helicopter found them around 4 p.m. and took them back to Nome. The car was plowed out and also brought back to Nome.
Reminding those who recreate in the outdoors around Nome, Chief West asked one thing: “Please tell someone where you’re going.”