Alaska leader embroiled in sex scandal lost at sea in presumed helicopter crash

play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
  • Former Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium leader Andy Teuber went missing in his helicopter.
  • It is presumed lost at sea after debris was found.
  • He was alleged to have committed sexual misconduct.

The US Coast Guard on Wednesday suspended its search off Kodiak Island for an Alaska Native leader who abruptly quit his executive positions and went missing in his helicopter after being accused of sexual misconduct.

Andy Teuber, former president of the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium (ANTHC), the largest tribal health organisation in the US, disappeared while piloting a chopper on Tuesday afternoon from Anchorage.

READ | Third woman accuses NY Governor Andrew Cuomo of sexual harassment

A search was initiated later in the day after he failed to reach his destination on Kodiak, in the western Gulf of Alaska.

Coast Guard helicopter and cutter crews scoured the waters northeast of Kodiak for a second days without finding conclusive signs of wreckage, and the search was called off.

Teuber, who was flying alone, was presumed to have perished in a crash.

"It's with a heavy heart that we have to suspend this search pending any new information," Coast Guard Commander Matthew Hobbie said in a statement.

"I offer my deepest condolences to those affected by this incident."

Pattern of sexual coercion

Material spotted in the water on Tuesday "was consistent with debris that would have been found on the overdue helicopter", though its connection to Teuber's chopper could not be confirmed, Hobbie said.

Teuber departed Anchorage the same day that the Anchorage Daily News published a story detailing sexual misconduct allegations levied against him by a former employee.

The woman, according to the account, described a pattern of sexual coercion in a letter sent last week to ANTHC management. Teuber denied the allegations, saying the relationship was consensual, the newspaper reported.

In addition to resigning from the tribal health consortium, which he led for over a decade, Teuber resigned his positions as a University of Alaska regent and as an Alaska Federation of Natives board member.

ANTHC is the nation's largest tribal health network with over 3 000 employees serving 180 000 Alaskans, according to its website. The Alaska Federation of Natives is the state's largest indigenous organisation.

Teuber is the latest in a series of prominent Alaska leaders who have resigned after being accused of sexual misconduct or harassment, including a former lieutenant governor, two state attorneys general and a mayor of Anchorage.

Do you want to know more about this topic? Sign up for one of News24's 33 newsletters to receive the information you want in your inbox. Special newsletters are available to subscribers.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Lockdown For
Voting Booth
Would you choose to continue working from home after the coronavirus lockdown if given the option?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Yes, it's much better for me
40% - 7454 votes
No ways! I can't wait to get back to the office
12% - 2168 votes
A mixture of both would suit me best
48% - 8980 votes
Brent Crude
All Share
Top 40
Financial 15
Industrial 25
Resource 10
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo