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Delta Junction man found dead after going missing on bear hunt near Kodiak

A 39-year-old Delta Junction man was found dead on Kodiak Island after he went missing on a bear hunt with two other men, Alaska State Troopers say.

Viacheslav Akimenko disappeared the morning he and a hunting partner, 30-year-old Palmer resident Mikhail “Mike” Malyk, were supposed to fly out of a remote hunting camp near Sturgeon Lagoon on the southwest side of Kodiak Island, troopers said in a dispatch Thursday.

The men and a third hunting partner chartered a flight from Kodiak to the lagoon on April 28, troopers said. They planned to be out until Wednesday, May 15, but Akimenko and Malyk decided they wanted to cut the trip short.

A third member of the party, 33-year-old Delta Junction resident Aleksandr Neverov, decided to stay and finish the hunt, troopers said.

The state issues permits for a spring Kodiak brown bear hunt in the area, according to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. The Sturgeon River flows through a broad grass, salmonberry and tundra flat interspersed with alder and willow thickets, surrounded by moderately steep hills to almost 2,500 feet.

A plane operated by Andrew Airways arrived at the lagoon on May 8 to pick up the two hunters, but Akimenko wasn’t there, troopers said. The men told the pilot he left that morning to go hiking and hadn’t come back.

Malyk left alone on the plane and eventually returned to his home in Palmer, troopers said. Neverov looked for Akimenko on his own.

Akimenko’s body was found on a hillside about a mile from camp, troopers spokesman Tim DeSpain said Friday.

Troopers say they weren’t contacted until Monday -- five days after Akimenko went missing -- about the situation. They received a report of the missing hunter that morning, and learned that Neverov found Akimenko dead at 4:20 p.m. that day.

Troopers responded Tuesday for an investigation, they said. Akimenko’s remains were recovered and sent to the State Medical Examiner’s Office for an autopsy.

That will help establish how he died, DeSpain said.

“The autopsy results will definitely determine the course of the rest of the investigation,” he said.

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