SEARCH UNDERWAY FOR OVERDUE SNOWMACHINE RIDER

Please Avoid Valdez Glacier Area During Search & Rescue Operations

Valdez, AK – Valdez Fire Department Backcountry Search & Rescue Team requests the public avoid the area of Valdez Glacier during search operations for a missing snowmachine rider reported overdue Sunday morning.

“While we sincerely appreciate our community’s willingness to volunteer and offer support, visibility and overall conditions at the glacier remain unstable,” said Captain Mike Bowden, VFD incident commander for the search. “We ask that members of the public avoid the area for their safety and the safety of those involved in the coordinated search effort.”

At approximately 10:16 a.m. on Sunday, Valdez Dispatch received notification of an overdue snowmachine rider. Family of 57-year old Tim Mills reported him missing after he did not return overnight from riding near Valdez Glacier on Saturday.

Upon arrival on scene, responders observed Mills’ snow covered vehicle parked in the Valdez Glacier parking lot. Multiple specialized teams on snowmachine, consisting of riders from VFD Backcountry Search & Rescue and Valdez Snowmachine Club, spent approximately ten hours Sunday searching the glacier area for Mills. Helicopter assets on standby remained grounded Sunday due to weather and low visibility.

Search efforts were temporarily suspended at sunset on Sunday evening and will commence again at first light on Monday morning. The forecast calls for a small break in the weather on Monday, which would allow for an aerial search in addition to continued efforts on the ground.

Valdez Fire Department asks those interested in volunteering or donating supplies for the search effort refrain from going directly to the scene. Instead, please call VFD to make advance arrangements at 907.834.3418 between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.

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Contact: Allie Ferko, public information officer, aferko@valdezak.gov or 907.202.0711