The body of a missing Coast Guardsman stationed in Kodiak was found Christmas Day on nearby Barometer Mountain, three days after he told his friends he was going to hike the popular peak.
According to Alaska State Troopers spokesperson Beth Ipsen, 20-year-old Derek Winn Russell of Hollis Center, Maine was found dead at about 2 p.m. Tuesday. Searchers first located Russell’s ice axe on the mountain, then found him in a slide area about 1,000 feet below.
The search for Russell began Sunday evening, when troopers were alerted that Russell hadn’t been seen since leaving to hike the mountain Saturday. A Coast Guard helicopter tried to reach the area Sunday, but wasn’t able to do so until Monday.
Ground searchers, including volunteers as well as members of the Coast Guard and the Kodiak Island Search and Rescue Group, checked paths on Barometer Mountain Monday, then broadened their search to areas like avalanche chutes and ravines Tuesday. A Coast Guard C-130 Hercules also flew K-9 search-and-rescue teams to Kodiak from Anchorage to help look for Russell.
Ipsen commended all of the volunteers’ efforts Wednesday.
“They decided to give up their Christmas holiday to search for Derek,” Ipsen said. “This just speaks volumes about our search-and-rescue volunteers here in Alaska.”
Russell was assigned to the Coast Guard cutter Munro. His next of kin have been notified.
Contact Chris Klint