FAIRBANKS, AK. CNN has confirmed rumors that it has lost track of Anderson Cooper, one of its long-standing lead anchors and primary anchor for Anderson Cooper 360°. Cooper was attending an Eskimo Youth Bullying Awareness Benefit Dinner in Fairbanks, Alaska. The dinner was held at Joy Elementary School just south of Creamers Field State Migratory Waterfowl Refuge, an 1800-acre bird sanctuary in Fairbanks, Alaska.
Friends, co-workers and attendees at the dinner say Cooper polished off the last in a litany of cocktails shortly after the introduction, at which point he gulped loudly, wiped his mouth and said “Welp [sic], time for a walk. Who’s with me?” When no one responded, Cooper walked off alone into a raging Alaskan blizzard.
“It wasn’t that out of character for him,” says CNN videographer Dirk Renfrow who has traveled extensively with Cooper, filming in locations throughout the world. “He is a seasoned anchor who has reported in all sorts of conditions; hurricanes, typhoons, war zones, you name it. He often likes to walk before going live. I saw no cause for concern– thought maybe he just needed some air.” When Cooper still hadn’t returned 1 hour later when it was his turn to speak, whispers began circulating the gymnasium. Renfrow said,
“I tried calling his cell but got no answer, it just went straight to voicemail.”
When no one was able locate him inside the school or anywhere on school grounds, members of Cooper’s news team addressed the guests, informing them that Cooper had gone for a walk over an hour ago and hadn’t returned. The ceremony was put on hold as 70 of the 120 attendees formed a search party, fanning out into the surrounding areas to look for him. In the meantime, a missing persons report was filed with Fairbanks Police Department.
Deidre Miles, SNG Operator for AC360 says, “Honestly, even before it started snowing, I thought: ‘No one with his complexion should be wearing an all white suit. It just didn’t work with his features. Then when I heard he had gone for a walk in the blizzard, I said ‘oh no, this is not good’.” Cooper’s wardrobe selections are usually carefully monitored for contrast, but since the event was not televised, no one objected to his choice.
After 4 hours of searching in whiteout conditions for the lightly complected news anchor, Fairbanks PD called off the search party, saying its own officers would continue searching throughout the night as long as it takes to find Mr. Cooper.
Deputy Don Rawlings states,
“Time is of the essence, as currently the only thing standing out against the stark white snowscape is Cooper’s skin, which will be covered with snow and ice by morning, making him virtually undetectable to the human eye. At that point it will be like finding– well, it will be like finding Anderson Cooper in a snowstorm I guess. We may need to bring in infrared technology.”
As of this morning, authorities had received 2 photos captured by wildlife cameras, indicating that Cooper was in fact on Creamers Field and appeared to be ok.
CNN released the following statement to the press this morning: “We are currently engaged in a full-scale search in cooperation with Fairbanks Police Department for Anderson Cooper. We are asking everyone in the vicinity of Creamers Field State Migratory Waterfowl Refuge to please be vigilant and report anything that may lead to his rescue.”