Father dies, 5 people rescued after family falls through river ice near Bethel

BETHEL — A father’s physique was recovered from the Kuskokwim River on Monday, a day after a snowmachine he and his household have been utilizing fell by means of a marked, open gap within the ice.

A Bethel Search and Rescue workforce pulled Mark Kasayulie’s physique from the Kuskokwim round 2 p.m. Monday about eight miles upriver of Bethel.

“Then all of us gathered round and we had a pair individuals say a prayer,” stated Bethel Search and Rescue President Mike Riley. “After the prayer was over, we thanked one another and everyone for all the great work everyone was doing, for this fast restoration of Mark, after which we loaded him in a physique bag and introduced him again to Bethel.”

Bethel Search and Rescue stated the 5 survivors have been OK and urged individuals to make use of overland trails to journey upriver.

The climate New Yr’s Eve was calm, and the opening was marked with blue reflective tape, however open water can look indistinguishable from the encompassing glare ice, particularly at night time.

There have been six vacationers: Kasayulie, his sister-in-regulation, his spouse and their three youngsters.

“I do consider they have been on one snowmobile, towing a sled,” Riley stated.

The household lives in Bethel and was heading to Akiachak, the place they’re initially from. The survivors have been capable of pull themselves onto the ice and name for assist. Troopers report that the household noticed Kasayulie go “into the water and didn’t see him get out.”

Bethel Search and Rescue heard concerning the accident from Bethel police simply earlier than 10 p.m. Riley says searchers reached the household inside forty five minutes.

“They have been very hypothermic; they have been all moist,” Riley described.

The responders used their very own garments to heat the household.

“They gave them their jackets, their coats,” Riley stated. “One among our members truly took his footwear off and gave it to one of many boys.”

The searchers transported the survivors to Bethel, the place two ambulances have been ready to hold them to the hospital.

On Monday morning, volunteers from Bethel Search and Rescue returned to the location with hooks and drag bars. They handed the gear to volunteers from Akiachak and Kwethluk to get well Kasayulie. Riley stated greater than 60 individuals helped.

“Three hooks grabbed him after about an hour and a half of dragging, and that is how we introduced him up,” Riley stated.

The crews then blocked the path.

“The path by the bluff is totally reduce off for everyone’s security,” Riley stated. “The glare ice could be very arduous to learn on open water, and that is the rationale…

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