BETHEL, Alaska (KTUU) - 4:00 p.m. Sunday Update:
A statement released by Kyle Steven's mother details the pilot's life and the families grief.
"Kyle's death came as a terrible blow to us, not only because he was only 31, but so much more because he was such an incredibly dear man and was needed by so many people, especially his wife and daughters far above all else, but also by other family members and friends, and countless native children and young people whom he cared so much about." Wrote the pilots mother. "He was a very fun and joyful person who brightened everything up by his presence, yet he was also a wise and gentle counselor and friend to the many who were blessed by the opportunity to be close to him or to seek his help. His wisdom came from his knowledge of the truth of God from the Bible, which he faithfully read and digested and lived by. So because of who Kyle was, we are deeply grieving. Our loss is huge. On the other hand, we are thanking and praising God because Kyle had given himself to Christ to love and obey Him, and to serve Him with all of his heart. He was faithful to His Lord to the end of his life. We know exactly where he is right now, standing before the Lord Jesus Christ in all His glory! He is lost in wonder and filled with more joy and love than we can imagine. We also are comforted to know that God's ways are wisest and best and that He will take care of Kyle's family and will fill the gap left by his home-going in every life that his touched. Last Monday when his plane went down, the Lord was calling him home saying, 'Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master' (Matthew 25:21)."
2:00 p.m. Saturday Update:
Troopers on Saturday say they have located the remains of Pilot Kyle Stevens.
He was recovered from the Yukon River Friday, troopers say.
A.S.T. says they were able to find Kyle using a SONAR system.
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."
This story is ongoing and will be updated with information as it becomes available. Check back for updates.
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.
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.