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Alaska News

Remains of missing Russian Mission pilot found in Yukon River

  • Author: Annie Zak
  • Updated: December 2, 2017
  • Published October 21, 2017

Kyle Stevens (Photo provided by Sharon Penz)

The remains of a pilot who went missing Monday while flying a small plane from Russian Mission to Bethel were found Friday evening, Alaska State Troopers said.

Around 7 p.m. Friday, the remains of Kyle Stevens, 31, were recovered from the Yukon River, troopers said in a dispatch Saturday afternoon. Troopers located the remains using sonar. Stevens' family has been notified, troopers said.

Part of Kyle Stevens’ plane is seen sticking out of the Yukon River. (Photo courtesy of Alaska State Troopers)

Stevens worked at the Kako Retreat Center in Russian Mission. He had been flying to Bethel to pick up volunteers, according to the center's Facebook page.

"Kyle was vivacious, funny, honest and kind," the Christian mission said in a Facebook post. "He loved the Lord with all his heart and he poured his life, passion and love into serving the Yupik and Athabascan kids of the (Yukon-Kuskokwim) Delta."

Stevens and his family — his wife, Ella, and their two daughters, Kate and Lauren, according to the Kako Retreat Center website — also lived at the Christian mission, said his co-worker Sharon Penz. He was the director of the kids' summer camp there, she said.

Kyle Stevens, with his wife Ella and daughters Kate, right, and Lauren. (Madalynn Marie Photography)

Another pilot traveling with Stevens in another airplane had reported "that he had encountered heavy fog," troopers said earlier this week. Stevens' plane was located in the Yukon River, about 10 miles downriver from Russian Mission on Tuesday, troopers said.

This story will be updated as more information is available.