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Plane Found, But Pilot Missing As Search Continues

Stevens' plane was found submerged in the Yukon River.
Courtesy of Trooper Spokesperson Megan Peters

It’s been three days since Kyle Stevens disappeared, and search and rescue workers still haven't found him.

An amateur pilot, Stevens took off from Russian Mission in his small, maroon plane on Monday afternoon. He was supposed to land in Bethel, but never arrived. A team of search and rescue personnel from several different agencies, including the Alaska State Troopers, the U.S. Coast Guard, and the Alaska National Guard, have been looking for him ever since.

The searchers discovered Stevens’ plane yesterday, submerged in the Yukon River about 10 miles downriver from Russian Mission. But according to Stevens’ brother-in-law, James Buckingham, the searchers did not find Stevens’ body in the wreckage.

It’s still not clear what went wrong, or where Stevens might be. “If he was in the plane when it hit [the water],” said Buckingham, “it doesn’t look like he would’ve survived.” He says that law enforcement is dragging the river for Stevens’ body, but they’re also searching the shoreline in case Stevens managed to swim to land. “They’re still searching as if he might be alive,” said Buckingham, “but the main consensus is that he didn’t make it.”

The family has already set up a crowdfunding campaign to raise money for Stevens' funeral expenses and provide for the family he may have left behind.

In the meantime, the search for Stevens may be intensifying. According to Bethel Search and Rescue Chief Mike Riley, who’s familiar with the situation, teams of Alaska National Guardsmen are being deployed to the area with search dogs.