Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, AK
Friday, January 02, 2004
Rescuers found the body of a second overdue hunter Friday
but were holding out hope that a teenage boy who disappeared with the two
men might still be alive.
A Coast Guard helicopter crew recovered the body of
28-year-old Gery Davies on the northern shore of Kupreanof Island about 3:30
p.m., Alaska State Troopers said. But there was no sign of David Mills, 14,
as darkness set in Friday evening.
Searchers said they would head out again at daybreak
"There's always hope, even with us, that this person is
alive," Trooper Chris Umbs said in a phone interview from Kake.
Coast Guard Lt. Michael McNeil said Davies' body was found
12 to 14 miles east of where the body of 43-year-old Rick Mills,
the missing boy's father, was found dead
Thursday. The site is about 10 miles north of Kake, a
Tlingit village of 700.
Umbs said both men apparently drowned. The bodies have
been released to their families.
"They're pretty distraught," Umbs said. "It's one of the
hardest things of this job, trying to talk to families when someone dies."
Mills' body had washed ashore about a mile from a beach
where the hunters' overturned 16-foot skiff was found. He was wearing foul
weather clothing and flotation gear, said Petty Officer Richard Reichenbach.
The Coast Guard, troopers and as many as 70 volunteers
from Kake launched an intensive search after Judy Mills reported Wednesday
night that her husband had failed to return from a hunt with their son and
The three left Kake on Tuesday morning to hunt deer on the
southern part of Admiralty Island, across Frederick Sound from Kupreanof.
They planned to return home that night.
High seas and strong winds delayed the Coast Guard's
search until Thursday morning, officials said.
Reichenbach said the men might have run into rough
weather. The skiff was damaged, as if it had been banged around, he said.
The mishap deeply touched the village, prompting a rush of
volunteer searchers. Even several local fishing boats were enlisted,
"It's a small, tight-knit village, so everyone gets out
and searches," he said. "It's a difficult thing because everyone