Search efforts continue to find missing Brevig Mission man
James “Jimmy Knox” Kiyutelluk of Brevig Mission is still missing as of press time on Tuesday, according to search coordinators in Teller.
Danielle Topkok, president of Teller Search and Rescue, said that Kiyutelluk was in the company of two others when they wanted to cross from the Teller point to Brevig Mission with a 16-foot Lund boat, in the evening of Tuesday, Nov. 12.
According to Topkok, the boat’s Yamaha motor idled and was warming up but when they got into the boat to push off and start the journey across the channel, the motor stalled and would not go forward or in reverse. One man jumped out of the boat and urged Kiyutelluk to also abandon ship and swim to shore. The man managed to swim back to the point, but Kiyutelluk and the boat began drifting westward into Port Clarence. He has not been seen since.
Topkok said the subsequent search involved people searching on foot and by four-wheeler along the beaches both at Teller and Brevig Mission as boating was too dangerous due to strong winds. Troopers were alerted and authorized a SAR operation. Topkok said the US Coast Guard responded with a C130 from Kodiak. Later that day, a Black Hawk relieved the C130 aerial effort. No traces were found. Reportedly, Kiyutelluk was not dressed for the weather, wearing a sweater, a jacket, gloves, snowpants and a ballcap. The color of the boat is white.
According to a KNOM report, the troopers called the search off on Saturday.
Volunteers from Teller, Brevig, Wales and Shishmaref continue to search for Kiyutelluk, Topkok said. Strong winds and fast freeze-up at Port Clarence prevented searchers to go out by boat and look for the missing man on Tuesday. Volunteers are scouring the area on foot and by four-wheeler.
Topkok said SAR is in need of binoculars, hats, gloves, facemasks and warm winter coats for searchers. Food donations are also welcome to sustain the volunteers. Donations can be coordinated by calling Teller SAR at 907-434-1388.
Trooper post in Nome did not issue a press release when Kiyutelluk was reported missing and didn’t return phone calls with requests for information by press time. Requests for information from the Alaska State Trooper public information officers in Anchorage remained unanswered as well. A call to Sector 17 of the U.S. Coast Guard also resulted in no information as the public information officer could not even find any documentation on the U.S. Coast Guard’s response to the search.