Child Dead in Crevasse? Alaska Snowmobile Race Ends in Tragedy

Monday, 15 Apr 2013 03:05 PM

By Michael Mullins

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Sjohn Brown, a nine-year-old Alaskan who fell into a glacier crevasse on Saturday during a snowmobile racing event, is believed to be dead, according to police.

Authorities are currently searching for the boy's body in the 150-foot-deep glacial hole, Reuters reported.

The incident occurred during an annual snowmobile racing event.

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On Sunday, rescuers descended to the bottom of the glacier crevasse, where they recovered the snowmobile buried in snow, as well as the boy's helmet and goggles, but the child's body was not found, Alaska State Troopers said.

Sjohn, a native of Fairbanks, is believed to still be buried six to eight feet beneath the snow, The Associated Press reported.

"The deep hole requires skilled climbers. We made an attempt but the hole has filled with a significant amount of snow," Alaska State Troopers spokeswoman Megan Peters wrote in an email to Reuters.

Authorities are presently using a probe to locate the exact location of the boy's body, Peters said.

At the time of the accident, Sjohn's father was reportedly watching his son as he rode around a small mound of snow, but the boy never reappeared, authorities said.

The Army’s Black Rapids high angle rescue team also responded to the scene to look for the boy, the AP reported.

Sjohn was attending the Arctic Man Classic with his family on Saturday when the incident occurred.

The annual event, which takes place about 140 miles southeast of Fairbanks, features snowmobile-skier teams that race each other along the area's mountain region as thousands of camping spectators watch.

Glacier crevasses are generally caused by water flowing onto and through glacial ice, causing rifts to form. The fractures can reach a width of up to 20 meters and a depth of 45 meters.

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