August 18th, 2013
03:03 AM ET

Alaska hunter mauled by bear survives

A hunter mauled by a bear in Alaska survived 36 hours in the remote wilderness before rescuers found him with night-vision goggles, the Alaska National Guard said.

The man, who was part of a guided hunting party, was attacked about 35 miles north of Anaktuvuk Pass. Helicopter rescue teams tried to reach the man several times, but had to turn back due to dense fog and weather, the Guard said.

The hunter suffered significant blood loss but was stabilized by a medical professional who happened to be in another hunting group, the Guard said.

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Filed under: Alaska • U.S.
Alaska volcano spews ash 20,000 feet
Lava flows off the Pavlof volcano earlier this week.
May 15th, 2013
09:33 PM ET

Alaska volcano spews ash 20,000 feet

An Alaska volcano exhibiting "elevated seismic activity" has spewed ash clouds skyward - as high as 20,000 feet above sea level - an observatory reported Wednesday.

As was the case a day earlier, the Pavlof Volcano was on "watch" status on Wednesday because of heightened activity, and it was also under an orange code that relates to how its rumblings might affect planes flying over its summit. Both these alert levels are the second most serious out of four options, according to the Alaska Volcano Observatory.

The same alert levels also continue to apply Wednesday to the Cleveland Volcano, which like Pavlof is in the Aleutian Island range southwest of mainland Alaska. Lava was reported flowing Tuesday at Pavlof and Cleveland.

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January 7th, 2013
10:07 AM ET

Alaska drilling rig refloated, being towed

A Royal Dutch Shell oil drilling barge that ran aground last week off southern Alaska is being towed with no sign that it's leaking fuel, an incident response team reported Monday.

Early Monday the rig had been towed about 19 miles from land on its way toward Kiliuda Bay, where authorities plan to more thoroughly assess its condition.

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Crews battle harsh weather
January 1st, 2013
07:27 PM ET

No leaks from grounded drill rig off Alaska, Coast Guard says

Coast Guard aircraft have found no sign of a spill from a Royal Dutch Shell oil drilling barge that ran aground off a southern Alaska island during a fierce winter storm, authorities reported Tuesday.

The 266-foot Kulluk "is sound. There is no sign of a breach of the hull. There is no sign of a release of any product," Coast Guard Capt. Paul Mehler III told reporters Tuesday afternoon.

The rig a key part in Shell's controversial Arctic oil exploration project - ran aground off Sitkalidak Island, about 200 miles south of Anchorage, on Monday night.

The Kulluk had been working in the Beaufort Sea, off Alaska's North Slope, until October. It was being towed back to its winter home in Seattle when it ran into a severe storm off the Alaskan coast. The Coast Guard evacuated its 18-man crew Saturday night, and it drifted for 10 hours on Sunday after the tug that was towing it lost power.

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Authorities: Suspected serial killer committed suicide
Authorities say Israel Keyes killed himself while in custody.
December 4th, 2012
06:58 PM ET

Authorities: Suspected serial killer committed suicide

A suspected serial killer has killed for the last time.

Authorities say Israel Keyes, who was arrested and charged in the killing of an Alaskan barista, killed himself while in custody.

Before committing suicide on Sunday, Keyes confessed to at least seven other slayings, according to the FBI field office in Anchorage, Alaska, which on Monday asked for the public's help with tracing Keyes' travels over the years in the hopes of identifying any additional victims.

He crisscrossed the country, and authorities may never know how many he killed.

"Based upon investigation conducted following his arrest in March 2012, Israel Keyes is believed to have committed multiple kidnappings and murders across the country between 2001 and March 2012," the office said in a statement. "Keyes described significant planning and preparation for his murders, reflecting a meticulous and organized approach to his crimes."

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Filed under: Alaska • Crime
August 30th, 2012
11:48 AM ET

Buzz ramps up over SEAL's bin Laden book

It’s already No. 1 on Amazon’s bestseller list.

Like little kids with the latest Harry Potter sequel, Washington and the rest of the world will be eagerly thumbing through “No Easy Day” when it hits bookshelves Tuesday. The memoir of a Navy SEAL who helped kill Osama bin Laden in May 2011 purports to tell the full story of how the globe’s most-wanted terrorist met his end.

Mentions of the book's author spiked on Twitter on Thursday morning, as did the term "Navy SEAL book." About 4,500 mentions were made by mid-morning. The book was mentioned more than 8,000 times on August 22, when news broke of its release.

Carl Carver tweeted, "This sort of thing is NOT healing relations in Middle East, predicted as the starting point of WWIII !"

"It seems like once a year since I graduated college I get super excited for a book release, this year No Easy Day by Mark Owen is that book," Drake Stahr tweeted.

The RangerUp fan page on Facebook, a popular spot for military folks, had a range of comments.

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Filed under: Afghanistan • Al Qaeda • Alaska • Navy SEALs • Osama bin Laden • Pakistan • September 11 • Taliban • Terrorism • U.S. • War • World
July 19th, 2012
09:09 AM ET

Is Greenpeace's prank on Shell oil a 'scam'?

By Thom Patterson, CNN

(CNN) - If there's an official ranking for snarkiness, Greenpeace and the Yes Lab have got to be near the top this summer. Their snarky social media mash-up takes Greenpeace's campaign against Shell Arctic drilling to a whole new level.

It's a fake Shell website that encourages supporters to create ads that mock Shell's offshore drilling effort and to sign an anti-drilling petition.

Greenpeace teamed up with Yes Lab in June to create the fake website.

No matter which side you favor regarding offshore Alaska oil drilling, watching this fight is just plain fascinating.  Just make sure you get out of the way when the fur starts flying.

The Greenpeace/Yes Lab social media campaign clearly points to a strategy to succeed in a cacophonous Internet where it's increasingly harder to be heard and credibility is often called into question.

Although Shell is none too happy, calling the campaign a "scam," Greenpeace says it has received no legal action from Shell nor threats of legal action.

Here's a sample of these mocking fake Shell ads:

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Internet voters could send rapper Pitbull to remote Alaskan city
Pitbull attends the "Men In Black 3" New York premiere at Ziegfeld Theatre on May 23, 2012, in New York City.
July 3rd, 2012
06:56 PM ET

Internet voters could send rapper Pitbull to remote Alaskan city

Thousands of Internet jokesters are on the cusp of sending Miami recording artist Pitbull to a far-flung land of grizzlies, salmon and crab.

Pitbull, in a promotion by Walmart and Energy Sheets tongue strips, agreed to visit the U.S. Walmart store that receives the most “likes” on its local Facebook page in a 28-day period that ends July 15.

As of Tuesday afternoon, the leader was a Walmart in Kodiak, Alaska, with more than 48,500 likes - roughly eight times its population of about 6,000 people - Walmart spokeswoman Sarah Spencer said Tuesday.

A blogger caught wind of the contest and mischievously suggested last week that the Internet should bind together and send the Miami artist to Kodiak - one of Walmart’s most remote locations – according to FUEL Partnerships, a marketing company involved in the promotion. The call to action spread, including on Twitter with the hashtag #ExilePitbull.

The trip would appear to put one of Pitbull’s nicknames, Mr. Worldwide, to the test. But Pitbull – he of “Back in Time”  and “Give Me Everything” – appears to be up for the visit.

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Filed under: Alaska • Celebrity • Music • Showbiz
Alert level raised for Alaska volcano after small eruption
An ash cloud rises above Alaska's Cleveland Volcano on Tuesday. The image was taken 45 miles from the volcano.
June 20th, 2012
08:18 PM ET

Alert level raised for Alaska volcano after small eruption

Scientists have raised an aviation alert level around a remote Alaskan volcano after a small eruption produced an ash cloud several miles high.

Cleveland Volcano, on the Aleutian Islands southwest of mainland Alaska, erupted briefly Tuesday afternoon, creating an ash cloud at an estimated height of 23,000 feet above sea level, said Steve McNutt, a volcano seismologist at the Alaska Volcano Observatory and the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

The observatory on Tuesday raised its color-coded alert for aviators to orange, the second most serious of four levels, and warned on its website that "additional sudden explosions of blocks and ash are possible with little or no warning."

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Alaska grizzly missing half a leg
A biologist says the bear, called Tri-pawed, seems to be doing well at Alaska's Denali National Park.
May 11th, 2012
02:00 PM ET

Alaska grizzly missing half a leg

Visitors to Alaska's Denali National Park this summer may be able to catch a glimpse of something you don't see every day: a three-pawed grizzly bear.

A picture of the bear shows it to be missing about half of its right front leg.

"We call him Tri-pawed," park biologist Pat Owen told the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner. "He kind of hops around."

The bear, the first Owen has seen missing a paw in 23 years with the Park Service, was first spotted in the park last year, when the wound was still bloody, she told the paper. She wondered at that time whether the injury would prevent the bear from getting food, digging its winter den or defending itself.

But it seems to have done just fine, she said.

One person at the park even saw the bear leap a highway guardrail, Owen told the Daily News-Miner.

"They said he looked very agile. I don't think he has any trouble getting around," she was quoted as saying.

Owen said park officials don't know how the bear was injured, but did not think it was from a trap because the wound was a clean cut.

The Park Service won't track the bear and won't do anything special to help it, she said. While the grizzly is listed as a threatened species in the lower 48 states, there are about 30,000 grizzlies in Alaska, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

"For now, we'll let him do his thing and see what happens," Owen told the Daily News-Miner. But she said that if the grizzly is still around when visitor season opens on May 20, the park may post signs so rangers won't have to repeatedly answer the same questions about it.

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Filed under: Alaska • Animals • Bears
April 23rd, 2012
05:25 AM ET

Soccer ball washed up in Alaska traced to tsunami-hit area of Japan

A soccer ball recently found washed up on a remote Alaskan beach apparently belongs to a teenager from a city devastated by the earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan more than a year ago.

And it may soon be returned to its owner more than three thousand miles away on the other side of the Pacific Ocean.

David Baxter, a technician at the radar station on Middleton Island in the Gulf of Alaska, came across the ball as he was beach combing.

The ball had Japanese characters written on it, from which Baxter's wife was able to translate the name of a school that was in the area hit by the tsunami, according to a blog post by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

An enormous amount of debris was swept into the Pacific by the tsunami that hit northeast Japan on March 11, 2011, killing thousands of people.

A number of objects, both large and small, have so far made their way as far as the coast of North America, including a rusty fishing trawler that the U.S. Coast Guard sank earlier this month. But the ball "may be the first identifiable item that could be returned," according to the NOAA.

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Filed under: 2011 tsunami • Alaska • Japan
April 5th, 2012
02:01 AM ET

U.S. Coast Guard to sink Japanese boat washed away by tsunami

The U.S. Coast Guard has deployed a ship to sink a fishing trawler that was swept away more than a year ago by the tsunami off the coast of Japan and is now adrift near Alaska.

The crew of the coast guard's 110-foot CG Cutter Anacapa plans to assess the deserted trawler's condition Thursday morning, said Chief Petty Officer Kip Wadlow.

If its assessments are satisfactory, the crew will attempt to sink the vessel, named the Ryou-Un Maru, with the 25-millimeter cannon on board the cutter, Wadlow said.

The rust-stained trawler is part of a giant debris field in the Pacific Ocean that was generated by the devastating wall of water that struck northeastern Japan following a magnitude 9 earthquake on March 11, 2011.

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Filed under: 2011 tsunami • Alaska • Canada • Japan • U.S.
Body of Alaska barista likely found in lake, police say
Police had been looking for the missing barista after she disappeared.
April 3rd, 2012
07:37 AM ET

Body of Alaska barista likely found in lake, police say

A body believed to be that of an 18-year-old barista who disappeared in February has been found in a lake north of Anchorage, police in Alaska said.

Samantha Koenig was last seen on February 1 being led by a man from the parking lot of the coffee stand where she worked.

On Monday, a forensic dive team discovered the body in Matanuska Lake, said Anchorage Police Chief Mark Mew.

The medical examiner will conduct an autopsy to confirm the identity.

"Although some questions have been answered today, I know those answers offer little consolation to the Koenig family and that many more questions remain," said Mary Rook, the special agent in charge of the investigation.

"I know one question both the Koenig family and the people of Anchorage have asked from the outset is, 'Why Samatha?'"

Koenig was taken from the Common Grounds Espresso stand, in the parking lot of an Anchorage fitness club, around 8 p.m. on February 1.

More on Koenig's case:

Young barista's abduction sparks fear in Anchorage

Arrest made in case of missing Alaska barista

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Arrest made in case of missing Alaska barista
March 16th, 2012
07:35 AM ET

Arrest made in case of missing Alaska barista

[Updated 6:03 p.m.] Police in Lufkin, Texas, have made an arrest in the case of a barista abducted from an Anchorage, Alaska, coffee stand in early February, Anchorage police said Friday.

Israel Keyes, a construction worker from Anchorage, was arrested after a traffic stop in the Texas city on Tuesday, Anita Shell,  Anchorage Police Department public information director, told CNN.

“He was arrested for fraud and related activity in connection with access devices, which is a felony,” said Shell, adding that she couldn't comment further because the arrest warrant in the case has been sealed.

The arrest was a multi-force effort by the Anchorage police, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, local law enforcement agencies in Lufkin, Texas, as well as the Texas Rangers.

Samantha Koenig, an 18-year-old barista, was snatched from her parking lot coffee stand by a hooded man on the evening of February 1.

Authorities still need the public's help in finding the missing woman as well as information related to Keyes since January 1, the Anchorage police said in a statement released Friday.

"He's the only person charged in this case," Anchorage Police Detective Slawomir Markiewicz told reporters on Thursday. Police would not elaborate on details of what the detective called a "sensitive" case.

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Iditarod route altered due to weather concerns
Mushers and their dogs set off from the "ceremonial" starting point Saturday morning, as crowds cheer on their favorite teams.
March 4th, 2012
10:26 AM ET

Iditarod route altered due to weather concerns

Anchorage, Alaska (CNN) - Despite near record snowfall, the 40th running of the Iditarod sled dog race kicked off in Anchorage on Saturday. However, only hours after the ceremonial start of the race, Iditarod officials announced the trail's course was being altered due to worsening weather conditions.

Sixty-six mushers entered this year's race, a true test of human and canine endurance. The contest requires each musher and dog sled team to traverse almost 1,000 miles across Alaska's notorious winter terrain between Anchorage and Nome on the Bering Sea coast.

This year, Anchorage has already doubled its usual snowfall with approximately 120 inches 10 feet of snow and is approaching the near 133-inch record set in 1954. The deep snow could be a major factor in the Iditarod, as weather conditions affect the dogs' physical performance and increase the threat of dangerous moose encounters on the trail.  Several Iditarod mushers have already reported run-ins with winter-weary moose during training runs through interior Alaska.

Behind the scenes at the Iditarod

Hours after Saturday morning's ceremonial start, race director Mark Nordman announced trail breakers had become more concerned over a previously planned reroute in a critical part of the 2012 trail. Citing high wind and new snow totals, Nordman broke last-minute news of the change to mushers and fans.

"As trail conditions are constantly affected by changes in weather," the Iditarod Trail Committee "will consistently evaluate available options with the goal of providing the best possible trail," said Nordman meaning the dangerous, highly feared and ironically named "Happy Steps" would officially be back in the 2012 race route.

Veteran musher and 2012 Yukon Quest champion Hugh Neff of Tok, Alaska, is no stranger to harsh trail conditions: He lost one of his own race dogs to overflow ice and suffered severe frostbite during previous competitions. "You really have to respect Mother Nature, and Lord knows, she’s been beating up on me over the years. So, we just have got to take care of the dogs and keep an even keel," Neff said.

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Behind the scenes at Iditarod 2011
Angie Taggart participated in her first Iditarod race in 2011.
March 2nd, 2012
12:05 PM ET

Behind the scenes at Iditarod 2011

In 2011, CNN.com went on a never-before-seen journey through Alaska during the Iditarod.  A rookie Iditarod racer, 36-year-old teacher Angie Taggart, agreed to strap Go-Pro cameras to her sled and forehead and record her two weeks on the trail.

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Rookie cries at Iditarod start

After training herself and her dogs for years, Angie had a jittery start, filled with anxiety and tears for the 1,150 miles that lay ahead of her.

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Rookie crashes on Iditarod trail

Angie had to quickly get get her bearings, because she soon faced the biggest challenge of the race, the infamous Dalzell Gorge, where the trail drops hundreds of feet in only two miles.

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Dogs slip on icy Iditarod trail

The weather was always a concern for Angie, so when she and her dogs faced thick sheets of ice from one side of the trail to the other, she was unsure if she could get them across.

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Iditarod rookie takes wrong turn

Nearing the finish, Angie and her dogs got bad directions and ended up going the wrong way.

Taggart is not racing in this year’s Iditarod, but she’s spent the past year raising and training her dogs to race on Jan Steve’s team.  Taggart will be helping out on the trail, at checkpoints Nikolai and Nome. She said that nine of her 12 dogs will be in the race this year. And next year? "Who knows," she told CNN. "Maybe next year I will mush under that arch once again." You can see more videos from the 2012 race on CNN.com/Video

 


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Young barista's abduction sparks fear in Anchorage
February 10th, 2012
11:56 AM ET

Young barista's abduction sparks fear in Anchorage

[Updated at 5:25 p.m. ET] Eighteen-year-old barista Samantha Koenig has been missing for more than a week, kidnapped on a dark, snowy Alaska evening from the parking-lot coffee stand where she worked.

Her father, at times, has feared the worst.

"I am hitting every place I can possibly think of to get any tip or inclination," James Koenig was quoted as saying by the Anchorage Daily News. "I've got to start thinking, where would I dump the ... body if I were this guy?"

The community is in fear, too, for the employees who staff many of the other coffee kiosks that dot the Anchorage area.

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Alaskan volcano could erupt, disrupt international air travel
A true-color satellite image of Cleveland Volcano collected by the Worldview-2 sensor on October 7, 2011.
February 1st, 2012
04:30 AM ET

Alaskan volcano could erupt, disrupt international air travel

Officials are monitoring a remote Alaska volcano that could launch an ash cloud, potentially threatening intercontinental flights.

"Eruptive activity" of Cleveland Volcano was detected in satellite data, according to the Alaska Volcano Observatory.

The volcano, also known as Mount Cleveland, is on the Aleutian Islands, southwest of mainland Alaska.

Steve McNutt, a scientist at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, said 90% of air freight from Asia to Europe and North America flies over Alaska air space, and hundreds of flights - including more than 20,000 passengers - fly through Anchorage's air space daily.

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Filed under: Air travel • Alaska • Transportation • Travel • U.S. • Volcano • World
Fuel delivery to icebound Alaskan town complete
The tanker Renda transfers fuel to the northwestern Alaskan town of Nome on Monday.
January 19th, 2012
08:56 PM ET

Fuel delivery to icebound Alaskan town complete

A Russian tanker on Thursday morning finished delivering 1.3 million gallons of fuel to icebound Nome, Alaska, the U.S. Coast Guard said.

The tanker Renda, anchored more than a quarter-mile off Nome following a 11-day journey with an icebreaking Coast Guard ship, began transferring the fuel through hoses to an onshore fuel storage facility on Monday.

A company in Nome a town of 3,500 people contracted the Renda to deliver the fuel after ice formed over the Bering Sea following a ferocious November storm that prevented the last delivery of the season via barge.

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January 17th, 2012
11:49 AM ET

Fuel transfer under way across Alaska ice

A Russian tanker has begun transferring 1.3 million gallons of fuel to icebound Nome, Alaska, the U.S. Coast Guard reports.

The fuel is flowing through 1,200 yards of hoses from the tanker Renda - anchored amid the Bering Sea ice off the coast of the town of 3,500 - to a fuel transfer station on shore.

The transfer began at 5:06 p.m. local time Monday and is expected to last several days, the Coast Guard said in a news release.

Nome Mayor Denise Michels, along with Coast Guard safety inspectors, walked along the fuel hoses before the transfer began to be sure they were sound.

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Filed under: Alaska • U.S. Coast Guard • Weather • Winter weather
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