Search on for Priest, Companion

Fairbanks Daily News Miner
September 28, 1960

An air and ground search has been launched for a missing priest and his companion at the mouth of the Kuskokwim river.

Missing are Father Paul Linssen, S.J., of Chifornak and Bernard Nurak, who left Bethel Sept. 16 to return to the village in a 40-foot Columbia schooner, an open boat, and were carrying a cargo of lumber, fuel oil and gasoline.

Last Friday, the boat was found overturned at the mouth of the river with a large hole in its bottom. The cargo was missing.

None of the lumber was found, leaving the possibility that the missing pair may have attempted to cling to it when the boat overturned.

Both men were wearing life jackets at the time they left Bethel.

Father Linssen, from Holland, had been at Chifornak for three years.

Mrs. Nora Gwenn, deputy Magistrate at bethel, said the boat was last seen about five miles out in Kuskokwim Bay at about the time weather in the area was deteriorating.

It is believed, she said that the priest and Nurak, feeling they did not have time to re- turn to the river before a storm hit, decided to anchor up and try to ride it out. When the boat was found, its bow anchor trained from it.

Today, light planes were Searching the area and natives Were walking along the beaches And cruising along the shoreline In boats in an effort to find some clue to the missing pair.

Father Henry Hargraves at Bethel, said: “We will try to Drag the bay when it’s calm— It sure doesn’t look good.


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