A Russian Mission man died from weather exposure after falling through the river ice south of Russian Mission during the holidays it was reported by the trooper dispatch on Sunday.
At 11 am on Christmas Day, troopers received a report of three overdue snow-machiners traveling from Kwethluk to Russian Mission. While one of the snow-machines in the group of travelers arrived in Russian Mission, three individuals traveling on two other machines did not it was reported.
Alaska State Troopers organized a search for the missing riders, gathering volunteers from Russian Mission, Pilot Station and Bethel.”Aerial assets from Aniak and Bethel posts” also joined the search on Saturday after weather hampered efforts on Friday, troopers said.
At 2:36 pm on Saturday, “a pilot involved in the search spotted a snow machine stuck in an overflow area south of Russian Mission,” trooper dispatch reported. The trooper investigation revealed that 24-year-old Gary Kozevnikoff fell through the ice and died from exposure.
The other two riders, Robert Kozevnikoff and a juvenile were located approximately half an hour later in a stand of trees forty miles north of Bethel. Despite continuing poor weather conditions, the two survivors made it to safety by Saturday night.
Poor weather is reported to have been a factor in the incident as white-out conditions caused the group to separate from one another.
Gary Kozevnikoff’s remains were sent to the State Medical Examiner’s office for autopsy.[xyz-ihs snippet=”Adsense-responsive”]