Richard James McClellan, 06-13-03

Searchers find 3-year-old boy drowned in Noatak River accident

KOTZEBUE - A 3-year-old boy drowned in the Noatak River on Friday night, Alaska State Troopers said.

James and Sally McClellan said their son, Richard James McClellan, disappeared from their camp at 6:15 p.m.

The parents called troopers at 6:30 p.m.

Nine boats and 30 people searched the McClellans' fish camp, which is a few miles south of the village of Noatak.

Noatak Search and Rescue found the boy's body near the fish camp about 15 feet from shore, troopers said. The child was not wearing a life jacket, troopers said.

The child is the fifth Alaskan to drown this month. One other man died in a boating collision.

Noatak, with a population of more than 450, is 55 miles north of Kotzebue.

-- The Associated Press