ANCHORAGE, Alaska -

A Nome man who apparently fell through ice on the Nome River was found dead Thursday evening, almost a day after Alaska State Troopers say he was reported overdue from an ice fishing trip.

According to a Friday AST dispatch, troopers were informed just after 6 p.m. Wednesday that 74-year-old Frank Okleasik hadn’t returned from his trip. His truck was found near the river, about four miles out of town.

Initial search efforts for Okleasik Thursday included two searchers in a Robinson R-44 helicopter chartered from Bering Air, a small boat fitted with an underwater camera for open-water searches, and four snowmachiner teams.

“Then, starting at (3 p.m.), 32 people walked downstream on the banks of the river, looking for Okleasik,” troopers wrote. “A total of about 70 people were involved in the search for Okleasik.”

Searchers subsequently found Okleasik, who was declared dead at the scene.

“At (5 p.m.), Nome Search and Rescue volunteers located Okleasik's body partially submerged in water a short distance from his vehicle,” troopers wrote.

AST spokesperson Beth Ipsen says Okleasik was alone when he went fishing. Family members reported him overdue after finding footprints from his truck to the river that suddenly ended.

“(Okleasik) was an avid outdoorsman and he would often go fishing by himself, but he would always return by 3 p.m.,” Ipsen said. “He was pretty savvy as far as being outdoors-aware -- he even had an ice stick with him.”

Ipsen says the stick, which is used to both probe ice ahead of a person for weakness and support the user while climbing out of collapsed ice, was located near a concealed hole in the river’s frozen surface.

“We believe he fell through the ice -- he hit that weak spot,” Ipsen said. “The (ice stick) was found lodged in the ice a short ways away.”

The state medical examiner’s office in Anchorage will conduct an autopsy on Okleasik’s body. No foul play is suspected in his death.