Man Drowns In River Near Bethel; Body Recovered

Jul 11, 2019

This story has been updated with the name of the man who drowned. The story has also been updated with the account from the Bethel Police Department.

A man drowned in the river on Wednesday near Bethel. Bethel Search and Rescue has recovered the body of 35-year-old Fritz Johnson from Napaskiak. The family has been notified.

According to BSAR President Mike Riley, a woman saw three intoxicated individuals on Wednesday while walking along the seawall next to Mission Road. On her way back, she saw one of them, a woman, in the river, shouting for a man who was not visible. The third person was unconscious on the seawall. The woman in the water was thrown a life ring and rescued by a passerby in a boat. They could not find the other man, later identified as Fritz Johnson. 

Bethel Search and Rescue was called, and six boats started dragging the river for a body at 5:15 p.m. on Wednesday. At 11 p.m., they found Johnson.

Acting Police Chief Amy Davis says officers also received a report that a man and woman had fallen in the water. But when officers arrived, the woman had already been rescued, and a bystander told officers the man that was with her had walked off. Officers assumed the man that had walked off was the same man that had been reported to be in the water.