Water remains open in front of Nugget Falls on Thursday, Nov. 9, 2017. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Water remains open in front of Nugget Falls on Thursday, Nov. 9, 2017. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Juneau man found dead at Mendenhall Glacier

A man has been found dead in the water at the Mendenhall Glacier Recreation Area, according to Alaska State Troopers.

Ryan Johanson, age 25 of Juneau, was reported missing in the area of Nugget Falls at 6:46 p.m. Wednesday. He was found at approximately 10:14 p.m. the same day by Juneau Mountain Rescue.

“A member from JMR located Johanson’s body in the water adjacent to the Nugget Falls,” AST wrote in a release. “Johanson’s body is being sent to the State Medical Examiner’s office in Anchorage for an autopsy.”

It’s unclear yet how or when Johanson died, but AST says no foul play is suspected. Johanson’s family has been notified and his body has been sent to the State Medical Examiner Office for an autopsy.

It is believed Johanson had been in Nugget Falls area since Tuesday afternoon, AST spokeswoman Megan Peters wrote in an email to the Empire. Nugget Falls is the destination of a popular short hike about 20 minutes from the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center.

Johanson was an employee of Juneau Docks and Harbors, City and Borough of Juneau human resources confirmed Thursday afternoon.

Angelica Johanson, Ryan’s mother, thanked search and rescue personnel in a public Facebook post on Thursday. The post had led to an outpouring of support from community members.

“A huge thank you to the teams who braved the cold and found our son, bringing him back to us. The outcome was heartbreaking but he is at peace,” Johanson wrote.

The search was initiated by Southeast Alaska Dogs Organized for Ground Search (SEADOGS) and JMR at 8:30 p.m. Wednesday. AST, the U.S. Forest Service and JMR also assisted in the search.

Friends and family had organized a search about an hour before SEADOGS arrived. That group was asked to remain in the parking lot and direct traffic after AST arrived.

SEADOGS was conducting training nearby at Skaters Cabin when they noticed flashlights from an informal search underway on the beach near Nugget Falls, Bruce Bowler, of SEADOGS, said in a Thursday phone interview. JMR, which found the body, was unreachable.

CCFR assisted in body recovery at the scene, Assistant Fire Chief Ed Quinto said Thursday by phone. Quinto referred further questions to AST.


• Contact reporter Kevin Gullufsen at 523-2228 or kevin.gullufsen@juneauempire.com.


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