Rondy Lamont, 01-14-09
Matalena Tinker

2 teens are missing

Anchorage Daily News, January 15th, 2009

ST. MARYS -- Two teenagers from Pitka's Point are missing and suspected of falling through river ice, according to Alaska State Troopers. The youths, who were not named Thursday, were reported missing at about 1 p.m. They had gone snowmachining and were last seen by a friend at about 10:15 p.m. Wednesday, troopers said.

Troopers say an initial search turned up fresh snowmachine tracks that led them to an open lead in the river.

It appears both teens went into the water with their snowmachine, troopers said.

The search was suspended for the night and will resume today at about 9 a.m., depending on weather conditions, troopers said.

Missing teens feared dead near St. Marys

By JAMES HALPIN,, January 19th, 2009

The search for two teenagers whose snowmachine apparently fell through a hole in river ice near St. Marys has turned into a body recovery mission, Alaska State Troopers said Monday.

Rondy Lamont, 17, and Matalena Tinker, 14, were high school friends on their way home to Pitka's Point from St. Marys, troopers said. They were reported missing Thursday afternoon after last being seen on a snowmachine at about 10:15 p.m. Wednesday.

Searchers covering the expected route the pair was traveling soon came across snowmachine tracks that ended at an open lead in the Andreafsky River at its junction with the Yukon River.

It now appears all but certain the teens went into the river with their snowmachine, troopers spokeswoman Beth Ipsen said. Searchers were continuing their effort through the day.

Find James Halpin online at or call him at 257-4589. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Missing teens feared dead near St. Marys
BODY RECOVERY: Pair from Pitkas Point went into deadly river-ice hole on snowmachine.

By JAMES HALPIN,, Published: January 19th, 2009

The search for two teenagers who likely fell into a notoriously deadly hole in the ice at the confluence of the Yukon and Andreafsky rivers has become a body recovery mission, Alaska State Troopers said Monday.

Searchers have been dragging the bottom, setting hooks on long lines and stretching a fishing net across the water to prevent the bodies of Rondy Lamont, 17, and Matalena Tinker, 14, from slipping away from a section of river that has become known in recent years for remaining open in winter and swallowing unwary travelers.

"That hole has claimed six local residents," said Alaska Wildlife Trooper Dan Dahl, who is leading the search effort. "One body was actually recovered about three or four years later, but other than that, nothing has ever been found from that hole."

Rondy and Matalena, who were high school friends, disappeared last Wednesday night after leaving St. Marys on a snowmachine bound for their hometown, Pitkas Point. Along the way, blowing snow and wind likely disoriented them and put them off the trail, which may have been covered by new snow, Dahl said.

As they tried to find their way, the teens weaved through a patch of rough ice before finding a smooth patch and apparently reorienting themselves, he said. Tracks indicate they turned the snowmachine toward Pitkas Point. But the hole was directly in front of them.

When he heard they were missing, Matalena's uncle, Thomas Hart, went straight to the hole. He knew its dangers. And that it was along their path. On Thursday, Hart found a single glove -- Rondy's -- about 400 yards from the hole and snowmachine tracks disappearing at the water's edge.

"As I got closer to that hole, I just didn't want to believe that there was any kind of tracks going in there," Hart said in a telephone interview Monday. "There was a lot of stuff going through my head then. What I told (troopers) that I'd do is, I'd go on the lower side of the hole and see if there would be a trail, just in case they kind of made it across the hole and came out the other side. But I didn't see no trail."

It is all but certain the teens went into the river with their snowmachine, which also remains missing, troopers spokeswoman Beth Ipsen said. The hole is some 1,000 feet long and 600 feet wide, reaching depths of about 100 feet. The spot remains ice-free most every year because of the rivers churning together combined with the water's depth and fast current, Dahl said.

Rondy was an experienced rider who often made the trip to St. Marys, where he went to school, said his grandmother, Maureen Lamont. The hole is marked, and locals, including Rondy, know its dangers well, but blowing snow and darkness of night likely masked it from the teens, she said.

"It's been really hard," said Matalena's older brother, Gabriel Tinker, 17. "She'd always come to me when she was feeling down or want to talk and I would always be there to help her out and show her the way. She was a really good person."

Late last week, heavy snow and winds whipping at 35 mph hampered the search for the teens, but the weather cleared up Sunday, allowing three boats to get out on the water, Ipsen said. Between 30 and 50 searchers from the surrounding area, including Marshall, Pilot Point, St. Marys, Pitkas Point and Mountain Village, have been splitting their efforts along the rivers, Dahl said.

Some were dragging the open water with long line and hooks. Further downstream, auger holes dotted the ice, each containing lines and hooks to catch drifting bodies, Dahl said. Searchers had also used chain saws to cut trenches through the ice and were dragging for bodies in them, he said. A 300-foot king salmon net stretched across the river was serving as a last-ditch effort to keep the bodies from slipping away and depriving the families of closure, Dahl said.

"Their main concern is wanting to see her body," Hart said. "It's just kind of eating them up on the inside."

Find James Halpin online at or call him at 257-4589.

Body of 14-year-old who fell into Yukon River ID'd

Anchorage Daily News /, Published: August 9th, 2010

Alaska State Troopers say they have identified remains found late last month as those of a 14-year-old girl who fell into the Yukon River more than a year-and-a-half ago while riding a snowmachine with a friend.

Troopers say the remains of Pitka's Point resident Matalena Tinker were discovered about 5 p.m. July 31 about a mile-and-a-half east of Mountain Village.

Tinker disappeared and was presumed drowned on Jan. 15, 2009, after the snowmachine she was riding with 17-year-old Rondy Lamont went into a notorious open hole in the Yukon River ice near the Andreafsky River.

The two high school friends were heading home from St. Marys in severe weather at the time they went missing. A family member searching for them immediately afterward found tracks leading to the hole and a single glove belonging to Lamont nearby.

Searchers spent days dragging the bottom of the river, setting hooks on long lines and stretching a fishing net across the water to prevent the bodies from washing away.

It was not immediately known Monday whether Lamont's body has been found.