ANCHORAGE -

Searchers have identified a man missing in the Chena River since Thursday afternoon, as a group of village public safety officers and volunteers mobilizes to find him Friday.

The Tanana Chiefs Conference says in a Friday statement that the VPSO/TCC team has taken over search operations from the City of Fairbanks Friday for 35-year-old Andrew John, a resident of Arctic Village and Fairbanks.

“(John) went missing in the Chena River near the Wendell Street Bridge on August 7th, 2014,” TCC officials wrote. “Family has been notified and has allowed the release of his identity.”

Fairbanks police had said that two men had been spotted in the river at about 2:30 p.m. Thursday, with one of them able to reach shore on his own. A fire battalion chief says the river's water temperatures are survivable for about an hour without protective gear.

According to Doreen Deaton, the communications director of the Tanana Chiefs Conference, the search for John is being led by VPSO Coordinator Jody Potts as incident commander.

“We have several boats on the river now,” Deaton said. “We are requesting more volunteers and more boats.”

Deaton says workers with the conference are presently in a support role, attempting to ensure searchers have what they need to locate John. As a result, she didn’t immediately have details Friday morning on how John ended up in the water.

“TCC has been providing gas, boats, (search and rescue) materials, volunteers,” Deaton said.

According to the statement, needs for the search include volunteers and boats as well as food and coffee, with a temporary staging area in place near Graehl Park on Fairbanks’ Front Street. Anyone able to provide assistance is asked to call Deaton at 907-378-9903.