Updated: The deceased are identified as Jan Westlake, 36 of Noatak; Amber Westlake, 31 of Noatak; and Alexandria Howarth, 11 of Noatak. Next of kin for the three people have been notified.


Three people died after falling through the ice while traveling by snowmachine in Northwest Alaska on Monday.

Alaska State Troopers in Kotzebue received a call early Monday from a search and rescue coordinator in Noatak who reported two snowmachines carrying several travelers had fallen through the ice. Noatak is 460 miles northwest of Fairbanks and 50 miles north of Kotzebue. It is a village of about 500 residents, most of whom are Inupiat. There are no roads in the region and residents travel primarily by air or by boat and snowmachine on or near the rivers. 

One of the travelers was able to reach Noatak and summon help. One person was reported deceased and two were initially unaccounted for, according to a news release from Alaska State Troopers. 

Search and rescue volunteers reached the area and found one of the people reported as unaccounted was alive. The person, who was in serious condition, was taken to Noatak and flown to Kotzebue, but the person died at the hospital.

Search and rescue volunteers found the other person who was reported as unaccounted. That person was deceased.

Troopers are investigating the incident. The names of the deceased will be released after next of kin have been notified.