Searchers in Brevig Mission, Teller, and Shishmaref continued searching through the weekend for a Brevig man missing since early last week.
According to Alaska State Troopers and family members, 21-year-old Clarence Ray Olanna, of Brevig Mission, was last seen Monday July 14, when he did not return home. A member of Olanna’s family says the Brevig Mission search and rescue team began searching that night, finding Olanna’s clothing on the beach near Brevig in the early morning hours of Tuesday.
“Monday night they started looking for him and then Tuesday morning, about midnight or 1 a.m., they found all his clothing you know, what a person would wear, all in one spot right at the surf,” said Brevig Mission Village Public Safety Officer Wilfred Olanna.
VPSO Olanna said local search efforts continued—with Teller search and rescue joining in—and by Tuesday evening the Alaska State Troopers in Nome became involved. Trooper spokesperson Beth Ipsen said Sunday Troopers acted in “more of a managing mode” during the search, providing fuel alongside other fuel donations by local organizations.
By Thursday five boats and two four-wheelers were involved in the search. An Army National Guard Blackhawk helicopter was also dispatched for about three hours to search “over land and water surrounding the village,” Troopers reported.
Search teams in Brevig and Teller were joined by the Shishmaref Search and Rescue group on Friday, covering ground from Brevig to Lost River point just northwest of the community. Together, the teams continued the search on foot and via four wheeler and boat through Saturday.
On Sunday Troopers said the search was suspended due to “gusty winds [preventing] boats from searching the waters.” VPSO Olanna said by Sunday the search had covered Port Clarence, the coast, and inside Grantley Harbor. Now the search was turning into areas within the community.
“We’re still having hopes that he’ll show up. Even last year, he was trying to hide around,” VPSO Olanna said, referring to an incident where Clarence Olanna disappeared last year but was ultimately found safely. “He was just found under one of the buildings here in Brevig.”
Now Olanna said searchers are hoping for a similar outcome. “We’ve been searching under all the houses and structures and abandoned buildings, and they’re going to expand the search into the brush and tundra.”
Regional nonprofit Kawerak has started taking donations to support the search teams. Requested donations include food, paper plates and cups, plastic utensils, and food items for sandwiches, coffee and tea, sugar, butter, and meat for making stew.
Donations are being flown to the community free of charge by local air carriers. Organizers ask that all donations be dropped off at Bering Air and Ravn terminals in Nome and be addressed to Brevig Mission Search and Rescue, attention “Brevig VPSO.” Further information on donations is available by donation organizers Inez Tocktoo and Linda Divers at 907.643.1084 or 907.642.3012.
Brevig Mission VPSOs ask that anyone with information on Olanna’s whereabouts to contact them at 907.642.2264. Additionally, information can be passed to the Alaska State Troopers in Nome at 907.443.2835.