Family: Missing mountain climbers ‘trained experts’ in survival

A search is under way for a missing Columbia City man and his friend after they disappeared in Alaska
21Alive News at 5
Published: May. 11, 2023 at 6:53 PM EDT
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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WPTA) - Two friends – one of them from Columbia City – disappeared during a mountain climbing trip in Alaska.

Authorities say it’s likely the result of a small avalanche.

When friends hadn’t heard from 32-year-old Nafiuan Awal and 34-year-old Eli Michel of Columbia City since Friday, they knew something was wrong.

They called authorities who began searching.

The search for the two mountaineers is limited because of the avalanche and other conditions pose a threat to the safety of the search teams.

They found ski tracks along with their tent, skis and a climbing helmet among other things. No sign of the pair.

Aseke Razzak, who is Awol’s uncle, says the two were trained in expert climbing and know how to survive.

“We want to continue the searches, he says. “Because miracles can happen.”

However, Razzak prepared for the outcome even if it isn’t what they hoped for.

“I want my nephew back alive or dead,” he says. “We’d like to see him. If he died we would like to bury him in a religious way.”