The Army National Guard and the US Coast Guard are helping villagers search for four children — the youngest just 2 years old — missing in blizzard conditions in Alaska.
Alaska State Troopers received a report Sunday at 6:25 p.m. local time that the children hadn’t returned from a snow-machine ride near the remote, rural village of Nunam Iqua, on Alaska’s west coast.
Officials were called after the children, who range in age from 2 to 14, were more than five hours late in returning home.
“At least three were appropriately dressed for the weather,” said state patrol spokesperson Megan Peters. “There’s concern for their safety.”
There were winter storm warnings in effect throughout the region at the time state troopers were alerted, CNN meteorologist Michael Guy said.
The National Weather Service warned of wind gusts as high as 60 mph, and wind chills as low as 45 below zero, which can “cause frostbite in as little as 10 minutes to exposed skin,” the NWS said in its Sunday afternoon advisory.
The four children are identified as Christopher Johnson, 14, Frank Johnson, 8, Ethan Camille, 7, and Trey Camille, 2.
Army National Guard and USCG helicopters were called in Sunday to assist, but blizzard conditions are hampering visibility.
“They have every asset possible participating in the search,” Peters said. “They even have searchers from surrounding villages.”
The National Weather Service’s winter storm warning is in effect for the area until 6 a.m. Tuesday, with up to 6 inches of new snow expected.
Nunam Iqua has an estimated population of about 200 people, according to the US Census Bureau.
By Dave Alsup and Theresa Waldrop, CNN