Alaska Glacier Body Found: How Did Shjon Brown Fall Into 200-Foot-Deep Hole?

By iScienceTimes Staff on April 16, 2013 9:59 AM EDT

Fairbanks, Alaska
Shjon Brown, 9, was killed after falling into a deep glacier hole while riding his snowmobile on April 13, 2013, in Fairbanks, Alaska. (Photo: Creative Commons)

A body was found in an Alaskan glacier on Monday when recovery workers located the body of a nine-year-old Fairbanks boy who fell into a hole while snowmobiling, according to reports.

CBS News reported that the body of Shjon Brown was found in the Alaska glacier near Paxson buried under six to eight feet of snow and beneath the snowmobile he was riding on at 12:40 a.m. local time, according to Alaska state trooper spokeswoman Megan Peters. Brown's body was subsequently sent to the state medical examiner's office for an autopsy.

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ABC reported that Brown had been riding his snowmobile on Saturday in the Hoodoo Mountains south of Delta Junction when he fell into a roughly 200-foot-deep glacial moulin, a hole created by surface water, around 3:30 p.m. local time. He had been with his father, who was riding on a separate snowmobile, but was separated briefly.

As Brown's father took a break on the side of a hill, Brown drove around a small mound and didn't reappear. His father then traced his son's tracks and discovered that he had fallen through the Moulin.

Searchers initially found Brown's helmet and goggles and spotted his partly buried snowmobile, but were not able to find his body in the Alaska glacier on Saturday.

Brown and his father were riding about five miles northwest of the annual Arctic Man Classic, a race among snowmobile-skier teams in the Hoodoo Mountains southeast of Fairbanks. The race attracts thousands of spectators and many stay in a makeshift camp in the area.

In an interview with the Anchorage Daily News, state trooper spokesperson Megan Peters said that it wasn't out of the ordinary for a nine-year-old child to be riding a snowmobile in Alaska. In rural communities, children grow up riding snowmobiles and all-terrain vehicles as a primary source of transportation and many children ride recreationally.

"It's a way of life around here," she said. "Hopefully they're raised to wear helmets when they do it."

Peters added: "A grown man could have just as easily driven into the hole. It's just tragic."

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