Homer Alaska - News

Story last updated at 6:17 PM on Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Missing Anchorage hunter found dead

By Michael Armstrong
Staff Writer

Alaska Air National Guardsmen last Friday found and recovered the body of Robert Johnson, the Anchorage hunter missing since Sept. 4. Johnson, 38, appeared to have fallen down a steep ravine in the Brown Mountain area near Port Dick and received fatal injuries, Alaska State Troopers said in a press release last week. No foul play was suspected.

Guardsmen with the 210th Rescue Squadron in a HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopter first saw Johnson on a search Sept. 9 of the area. A rescue team landed near him and discovered he had died.

The Alaska State Troopers and Alaska Air National Guard had been searching since Johnson's hunting companion, Grant Gaberino, also of Anchorage, reported him missing by satellite phone late Sept. 4. Severe weather hampered searches last week, but after two days of attempting to get to Gaberino, pararescuers contacted him about 9:30 a.m. Sept. 7 and returned him safely to Anchorage.

Troopers and the Guard continued the search on Sept. 8 and 9 with helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft. Units from the Alaska Air National Guard 211th and 212th Rescue Squadrons assisted. Troopers dispatched two helicopters and crews.

Johnson went missing after he and Gaberino split up to scout for mountain goats. He failed to return to a base camp he and Gaberino had set up in the Brown Mountain area in the hills north of the Gore Point peninsula about 35 miles southeast of Homer.

Johnson's next of kin have been notified. His body was taken to Soldotna and turned over to troopers. The Alaska State Medical Examiner did an autopsy involving a physical examination of Johnson's body on Tuesday. Troopers have not yet released autopsy results. Johnson's body was released to his family and a funeral home. An obituary has not yet been published and no services yet announced.

Michael Armstrong can be reached at michael. armstrong@homernews.com.