Four members of Alaska family missing in winter storm |

Four members of Alaska family missing in winter storm

ANCHORAGE, Alaska – Authorities searched Tuesday for a woman and her three grandchildren who took refuge in a makeshift shelter Sunday when a winter storm descended on them as they trekked between two remote Western Alaska villages.Her husband and a son made it to a village Monday and sought help.Gabriel and Nora Tom, together with son Dale and the three grandchildren, had left the village of Kotlik on Sunday on a snowmobile towing a toboggan. They were headed for their home in Stebbins, about three hours away, after attending a Native Alaskan festival in Kotlik.After encountering the storm, however, they turned back to Kotlik, but lost the trail. Realizing they were lost, they turned the toboggan on its side, set up a shelter with tarps and waited, said Alaska State Trooper spokesman Greg Wilkinson.On Monday, the storm broke long enough for Gabriel and Dale Tom to go for help, and they found their way back to Kotlik. They were reported to be dehydrated. Nora Tom and the three grandchildren ages 4 to 16 stayed behind in the shelter.They were reported by the men to be cold but in good shape, Wilkinson said. A search for them was under way.Ephraim Bouchan, 50, who started out with the Toms but became separated from them in the storm, said the Toms had gone to Kotlik for a gathering where the children performed traditional Eskimo dances.”This is potlatch season,” he said, explaining that several villagers were traveling on snowmobiles in the area for the same reason.Kotlik is 460 miles northwest of Anchorage. Stebbins is 65 miles northeast of Kotlik on St. Michael Island along the coast of Norton Sound.

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