Tuesday, January 25, 2011

A sobering reminder...

It doesn't take long to be injured, sometimes fatally, by the winter weather. So we're not exaggerating when we say at times its too cold...

Yesterday a 14 year old boy died of exposure walking home from a friends house in Kipnuk (towards the coast to the south west of Bethel) at an estimated 50 below temp and wind gusting to 70 mph.

Below is a report from ADN.com

A 14-year-old boy who was last seen leaving a friend’s house to walk home in the extreme cold was found dead today in the Southwest Alaska village of Kipnuk, troopers say.

Searchers began looking for Brandon Anaver at about 8 p.m. Sunday, according to a trooper report. Winds in the village approached 70 miles an hour and rescuers were unable to follow the boy’s tracks in the dark, troopers said.

A house-to-house search and calls over the VHF radio in the Yup’ik village of roughly 670 people uncovered no sign of Anaver.

Rescuers began looking again at daylight today. At 1 p.m., a tribal police officer told troopers the boy had been found about a mile and a half downriver from the village.

He appeared to have died of exposure, troopers said.

Kipnuk is roughly 85 miles southwest of Bethel. Troopers say there were no signs of foul play.


Anonymous said...

I heard about this this morning while getting ready for work. Even though this happens far too often I find myself experiencing a wide range of emotions and feelings. My fist thought is how sad. There is no joy in death. Sadness for those who are left wondering why? Then there is the question of why? Why did a person presumably not ignorant of the environment choose to do that which any reasonably informed person would not do. Of course it is really foolish of me to speculate for I do not know what knowledge or resources the young man had and not having that knowledge I am left, in fact with only grieving with those who grieve. Bottom line. Be safe, err on the side of caution and remember that life is tenuous at best.

Gungnir said...

Well Tom as they say familiarity breeds contempt, it's easy to lose sight of the risk when you're exposed to it frequently enough.

As to why, I'm not sure either, but I'm reasonably self aware, and have developed a theory.

As a teenager, there was one important thing that always anchored me, I had to be home by a certain time. Now there were times when I probably made some poor choices and errors in judgment to achieve that time to cross the threshold. Now in this instance this might be a factor, I'm speculating of course, but its something to bear in mind. It's something that still affects people as adults too, why do we go to work when the driving conditions are dangerous? Why do we stay at work longer than needed when conditions deteriorate? I know I've done this many times, and the answer is we don't really consider the consequences of what those actions can ultimately lead to. While being yelled out by parents, your manager, or losing your job might be unpleasant, that isn't the most serious consequence.

Certainly it might be wise to consider this event the next time it's snowing or lashing rain, or pea-soup fog and the roads are treacherous at 7:00am in the morning. Or maybe next time your teenager gets home on time, it might be interesting to ask them what time they left the place they were at and how they made it home on time. If they showed poor judgment then maybe some assurance that getting home safe is the first priority, and the secondary priority is getting home on time.

Urbancowgrrl said...

That is so sad! The 14-year old kids I know don't seem to be able to perceive of how dangerous some things are, especially when it's something they are used to - like in this boy's case I'm sure he was used to cold weather and overestimated his ability to get home. But what a tragic ending to a typical "kid mistake"! In a way it makes me grateful to live in such a mild climate as Seattle.

Mike Yukon said...

It's human nature to get complacent about dangerous situations like extreme cold, chainsaws and axes. As soon as you become complacent you will get hurt or in this poor kids case dead.

Judi said...

So very sad. I will be praying for the family and village of this poor young man. You guys continue to be safe and careful yourselves out there.

carlos said...

i hope you are not right in your theory.
if you are, i dont want to imagine parent's feelings...

Gungnir said...

Carlos, as I said it's complete speculation.

Even if I'm right then there's no blame on the parents. They're only guilt is being human, which is to say there is no guilt at all.

I merely was processing two threads simultaneously at the time, and my background process popped up a "hey maybe this happened...". For those who are not computer experts, a thread is a unit of processing that can be scheduled by an operating system it's what makes your computer "run" multiple applications at the same time.

Carlos said...

got it.

is just that such explanation makes sense to me since my own father was pretty strict as well and i can tell a couple of histories about getting home in time, or not.

i dont want even speak about blame...
only hope you where wrong, and, you know? you probably are

just keep safe you guys