Alaska State Troopers have suspended their search for a man last seen more than six days ago in Brevig Mission, as poor conditions slow continuing efforts to find him.
AST spokesperson Beth Ipsen says 21-year-old Clarence Ray Olanna had announced no travel plans out of the village before he was last seen there Tuesday at 1 a.m. Troopers announced their suspension of search efforts as of 6 p.m. Monday.
"Our involvement has been suspended because we haven’t received any clues since his clothes were found," Ipsen wrote in an email to Channel 2. "I believe people there will continue to search."
In an earlier email, Ipsen says family members have verified that clothes found on a Bering Sea beach near the village Wednesday -- including “pants, socks, shirt, (and a) jacket” -- were Olanna’s.
“They were left in a pile on the beach in front of town,” Ipsen wrote.
While boats and an Alaska Army National Guard Blackhawk helicopter joined the search Thursday, Ipsen says high winds and rough seas since the weekend have effectively limited efforts to find Olanna to a shoreline search.
“The weather has greatly hampered waterborne and airborne searching,” Ipsen wrote. “Instead, people (have) stuck to four-wheelers and walking along the coast.”
While Ipsen says efforts to find Olanna haven’t transitioned from a search to a recovery operation, searchers are awaiting an opportunity to employ a seal net brought to the village Sunday from Shishmaref.
“Two people accompanied the seal net from Shishmaref, but they haven’t been able to use it,” Ipsen said. “There’s a lot of water to search because it’s open water and strong currents there.”