Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Cessna 210-5, N8347Z: Fatal accident occurred October 16, 2017 in Russian Mission, Alaska

The National Transportation Safety Board traveled to the scene of this accident.

Additional Participating Entities:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Bethel, Alaska
TCM; Mobile, Alabama 

Aviation Accident Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board: https://app.ntsb.gov/pdf

Kyle D. Stevens: http://registry.faa.gov/N8347Z 

NTSB Identification: ANC18FA003
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, October 16, 2017 in Russian Mission, AK
Aircraft: CESSNA 210, registration: N8347Z
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On October 16, 2017, about 1430 Alaska daylight time, a Cessna 210-5 airplane, N8347Z, impacted the waters of the Yukon River, about 10 miles southwest of Russian Mission, Alaska. The private pilot sustained fatal injuries, and the airplane was destroyed. The flight was being operated by the pilot as a 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91 visual flight rules (VFR) flight. Visual meteorological conditions were reported at the time of departure. No flight plan had been filed and there is no record of the pilot receiving a preflight weather briefing. The flight originated about 1415 from the Kako Airport, Kako, Alaska, and it was destined for Bethel, Alaska. 

According to a pilot that departed about 10 minutes ahead of the accident pilot on the same route of flight and also destined for Bethel, wide-spread areas of low level fog existed along the route. He stated in an interview that after both aircraft departed and were airborne, he conversed with the accident pilot and discussed the fog layers. He flew his route at 1,500ft above ground level (agl), above the fog and in good visibility but he was unsure of the altitude of the accident pilot. He estimated the fog existed between 400ft agl and 600ft agl. When he tried to contact the accident pilot about 15 minutes later, there was no response and no further radio communications were received.

After arriving in Bethel and loading passengers, the interviewed pilot departed for a return flight to Kako. Along the flight, he searched for the second airplane, but was unsuccessful in locating the airplane. After landing at Kako, he notified the FAA Flight Service Station and an alert notice (ALNOT) was issued at 1748. On October 17, the airplane was located about 10 miles southwest of Russian Mission, submerged in the waters of the Yukon River. The main wreckage was recovered and moved to shore. To date, a portion of the forward fuselage, the engine and wings remain submerged. The location of these items has been confirmed using SONAR equipment and will be examined if recovered later. 

The closest official weather observation station is Russian Mission, which is located about 10 miles northeast of the accident site. At 1413, a METAR was reporting, in part, wind 140° at 3 knots; visibility 10 statute miles; clouds and ceiling 200 ft scattered, 2,600 ft scattered, 3,600 ft broken; temperature 37° F; dew point 36° F; altimeter 29.68 inches of Mercury.

Those who may have information that might be relevant to the National Transportation Safety Board investigation may contact them by email eyewitnessreport@ntsb.gov, and any friends and family who want to contact investigators about the accident should email assistance@ntsb.gov 

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.

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.

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.


Photo of missing pilot, Kyle Stevens, and family.

BETHEL, Alaska (KTUU) - 10:00 p.m. Wednesday update:

Bad weather Wednesday prevented search crews from reaching the site where wreckage of a small plane was found in the Yukon River.

National Transportation Safety Board investigators said they will fly to Bethel on Thursday, with hopes of reaching the wreckage by helicopter.

The family of the missing pilot, Kyle Stevens, released a statement Wednesday:

Cheri Stevens, the pilot's mother, wrote "Kyle is known and loved in Alaska villages by the native children, whom he has served for 12 years at Kako Retreat Center, first as a counselor, and then as a camp director. He has delighted in making it a secure and happy place for the children who come. His passion in life has been to help them to know the truth about God from the Bible, so that they can have their sin forgiven and receive eternal life by repenting of their sin and trusting and following Jesus Christ . Kyle has also delighted in mentoring the young people who come to work and counsel at the camps. He is loved by all who know him and has impacted the lives of many people. Kyle is extremely loved by his family---his wife Ella and two young daughters, Lauren, 7 months, and Kate, 2 years, who live at the Kako Retreat Center near Russian Mission, and his mother and eight siblings, many of whom have counseled at the children's camps through the years. Kyle's plane went down while doing the work of the ministry that he has cared so much about. He was not afraid to die because death means being with the Lord that he loves."

6:00 p.m. Update:

Tuesday afternoon, Alaska State Troopers located Stevens' plane approximately 10 miles downriver from Russian Mission in the Yukon River. Officials towed the plane out of the river and onto the bank, where it was positively identified as the missing plane.

Troopers said Stevens remains unaccounted for, and that his next of kin have been updated as to the situation.

Correction: In a previous release, Alaska State Troopers incorrectly stated that a USCG helicopter was participating in the search effort. Instead, it is the Air National Guard who is assisting in the search.

Original Story:

The search is underway for a missing pilot, after he did not arrive at his Bethel destination on Monday.

Early Tuesday, Alaska State Troopers confirmed that Kyle Stevens, 31 of Russian Mission, was missing. Officials say Stevens was flying from Kako to Bethel along with another pilot in a separate aircraft. When that pilot arrived in Bethel, but Stevens did not, he notified authorities with the Rescue Coordination Center.

"The other pilot had reported that he had encountered heavy fog around the area of the Russian Hills," troopers wrote in a dispatch. Stevens was last seen near Russian Mission, and search efforts were concentrated in that area Tuesday.

Stevens was flying a Cessna 205, tail number N8347Z, maroon in color with a white stripe.

"Right now we're playing the waiting game," said Clint Johnson with the National Transportation Safety Board.

On Monday, AST says aircraft with the Civil Air Patrol was launched from Bethel and an Air National Guard HH-60 launched from JBER to assist in the search efforts; however, they had to turn back due to "weather related issues." Both CAP and ANG continued their search efforts early Tuesday morning. 

Original article can be found here ➤ http://www.ktuu.com

Rescuers searching for a Russian Mission pilot found the man's airplane in the Yukon River downriver from the village, but the man himself is still missing, Alaska State Troopers said Tuesday.

Kyle Stevens, 31, went missing Monday while flying a small plane from Russian Mission to Bethel to pick up volunteers for the Christian mission where he works, a co-worker said.

His plane was found about 10 miles downriver from Russian Mission, and boats towed it to shore, said troopers spokeswoman Megan Peters.

"Stevens remains unaccounted for," Peters said, adding that troopers have updated his family about the situation.

Stevens is well known across the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta for his role as a summer camp counselor at the Kako Retreat Center, about 10 miles north of the village, said Sharon Penz, who works at the mission.

"A lot of people are desperately praying for him," Penz said Tuesday morning.

Stevens was flying his own personal plane, a donation from his mother that arrived just last week to help Stevens provide outreach in villages across the region, Penz said.

Stevens is married with two young children, she said. He has worked at Kako for many years.

Penz said her husband, Jonathan, was traveling ahead of Stevens in a separate Cessna plane on Monday. Her husband encountered heavy fog along the route. He notified authorities when Stevens failed to land in Bethel.

Russian Mission is situated along the Yukon River, about 70 miles north of Bethel.

State troopers received a report of the missing pilot at 6:29 p.m. Monday, the agency reported Tuesday.

Aircraft from the Civil Air Patrol in Bethel conducted aerial searches Tuesday, along with an Alaska Air National Guard helicopter from Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson. The helicopter had also taken off Monday night in an effort to search for the plane but turned back because of poor weather, said Peters.

Daryl Polty, a former search and rescue coordinator in Russian Mission, said he helped with the search on Tuesday.

A boater traveling along the Yukon River from another village spotted the plane in the water Tuesday and contacted Russian Mission by short-wave radio, Polty said. The boater's information was relayed to a small commercial airplane leaving Russian Mission, whose pilot relayed the plane's coordinates to state troopers, Polty said.

Polty said Tuesday evening that Russian Mission search teams will continue looking for Stevens, with a "full-scale" search expected on Wednesday.

"They'll be looking on the river, and the islands and sandbars and fish camp areas," Polty said, for any sign of Stevens.

Polty said he hopes the break in the weather on Tuesday continues to hold, and there won't be the rain, fog and sometimes snow that the area has been seeing lately.

"With God's hands, I hope we find him and he's OK," Polty said.

Correction: An earlier version of this story, citing Alaska State Troopers, said the Coast Guard was conducting an aerial search, but the Coast Guard said Tuesday afternoon it was not.

Story and photos ➤ https://www.adn.com

Update: On Tuesday at about 1:36 p.m., Kyle Stevens' family was notified that the wreckage of Stevens' plane has been found. Kyle Stevens himself is still missing. 

Original article, published on Tuesday at 1:00 p.m.:

Local volunteers and law enforcement are searching the area for Kyle Stevens, age 31.

Stevens took off from Russian Mission yesterday, piloting his small, maroon plane. 

A beloved summer camp counselor at the Kako Retreat Center, Stevens was headed to Bethel to pick up volunteers for the Christian mission that he works with.

He was supposed to land in town yesterday, but his plane never arrived. Another pilot who was traveling with Stevens in a separate plane said that he encountered heavy fog as he flew above the Russian Hills.

State Troopers and rescue workers are looking for Stevens, and the Civil Air Patrol and Air National Guard are helping conduct an aerial search for the pilot and his plane.

Stevens’ missing plane is a maroon Cessna 205 with a white stripe. Its tail number is N8347Z. If you see any sign of it, or have any information about his whereabouts, please contact the Bethel State Troopers at 907-543-2294.

KYUK's reporting on Stevens' disappearance is ongoing.

Correction: In a previous version of this story, we reported that Stevens was a resident of Russian Mission. According to his brother-in-law, James Buckingham, he resides at the Kako Retreat Center outside of the village. We regret the error.

Story and photo ➤ http://kyuk.org

UPDATE: While an aircraft was found 10 miles downriver of Russian Mission, and verified as being the missing airplane, there is no sign of the missing pilot. 

The aircraft was towed to the bank of the river.

Steven’s next of kin were notified of the discovery.

ORIGINAL: Alaska State Troopers received a report at 6:29 pm on Monday evening, advising them that there was a missing aircraft that was traveling between Russian Mission and Bethel.

According to the report by troopers, 31-year-old Kyle Stevens, of Russian Mission was flying from Russian Mission to Bethel with another pilot flying with him in a separate aircraft.

The pilot flying the same flight path as Stevens reported the aircraft, a maroon Cessna 205 with a white stripe, bearing the tail number N8347Z, called in the report, when that plane failed to land in Bethel. The pilot reported that they had encountered heavy fog in the Russian Hills area.

Although Civil Air Patrol aircraft in Bethel flew the area, the searchers failed to locate the aircraft. An Air National Guard HH-60 launched from JBER, but was forced to turn back because of adverse weather conditions.

Civil Air Patrol and the Air National Guard will continue their search of the area today.

Original article can be found here ➤ http://alaska-native-news.com


TxTsar said...


Pilot found, deceased.

gretnabear said...

http://www.radiokenai.us/pilot-still-missing-from-plane-crash-near-bethel/ recovered acft

gretnabear said...

RIP http://www.kakoretreatcenter.org/about/