One Dead after Six go through Ice on Kuskokwim River

Accident site on the Kuskokwim-Gweek Rivers. Image-Google Maps

Accident site on the Kuskokwim-Gweek Rivers. Image-Google Maps

A Bethel man’s remains were recovered after an incident involving six family members that went through the ice near the confluence of the Kuskokwim and Gweek Rivers between Bethel and Akiachak on Sunday night.

Troopers received a report of the emergency on the river from the Bethel Police Department at 9:57 pm on Sunday night. The initial report stated that six people on snowmachine and in a sled being towed went through a marked open hole in the ice and five were able to successfully pull themselves out of the hole in the ice, but, one, the father, had disappeared and could not be found.

The volunteers with Bethel  Search and Rescue dispatched at 10:40 pm to begin the search for Mark Kasayulie, while searchers from Akiachak were requested but were unable to respond because of weather conditions.

At 11:29 pm, the five survivors, Kasayulie’s sister-in-law, wife and three children, cold and hypothermic, were brought into Bethel.

They reported that the party had been traveling to Aniachak from Bethel when they went into the hole in the ice on the river. 

The search in the dangerous conditions on the river was suspended on Sunday night and resumed on Monday morning. Kasayulie’s remains were retrieved at 2 pm on Monday by searchers utilizing hooks and drag bars.

Authorities are alerting travelers to stay off the river and instead use overland trails as there is an abundance of open holes on the river.