BSAR chief says CAUTION on the river
April 15, 2014
Mike Riley, President of Bethel Search and Rescue, reports that the river is getting more dangerous with the warming days. Potholes are forming on the main ice trails, forcing commuters to use sides of the trails, which are subject to more danger especially during high tides when water pours onto the top of the ice.
There are a lot of deep holes in or near the entrance to the boat harbor. Another hole has opened by Joe Pete's camp but that is already marked with hazard markers. The trail to Schwalbe's Island is reported to have a lot of surface water, which are especially deep along its sides.
The Alaska State Troopers also report that overflow along the lower mouth of Church Slough is at least five (5) feet deep and is the most dangerous areas for travel.
Automobiles are advised to stay off the river now.
VPSO warns Kuskokwim River getting dangerous
April 14, 2014
Max Olick, a well-respected VPSO from Kwethluk, has stated that the Kuskokwim River may be getting dangerous for river travelers, especially those using heavy vehicles, due to the ice being less than two feet thick in some areas.
"Right now, I see trucks going up and down (the river) and it's not safe enough to travel. I would advise caution when traveling," he said.
Olick's warning was posted on the KYUK website. For more information, click here.
Search groups looking for Lower Kalskag man
March 18, 2014
Since March 8, BSAR and other village-based search and rescue groups have been on the look-out for Travis Alexie of Lower Kalskag, who has been reported missing since March 3.
Mr. Alexie was last seen traveling from Tuluksak to Bethel on a black Honda 4-wheeler with a homemade plywood windshield. They also wonder if he had instead headed upriver towards his home village.
Anyone knowing any information on the whereabouts of Mr. Alexie should contact BSAR at 545-HELP or the Alaska State Troopers at 543-2294.
More information on Travis Alexie is provided by KYUK here.
Quinhagak brothers rescued
March 11, 2014
In the early morning hours of March 6, BSAR was notified about two brothers Wilson and Herman Wassillie of Quinhagak, who had reported themselves lost on the trail between Eek and Bethel.
Bethel Search and Rescue personnel then went out to search for the lost brothers before daybreak.
Wilson, 28, and Herman, 27, had left Eek on a four-wheeled ATV on March 5 headed for Bethel. When they lost the trail, they stopped in a slough and made a fire to keep warm. They were properly dressed to spend the night out and waited for rescue after making the report they were lost.
Later that morning around 9:30 am, Alaska State Trooper pilot Earl Samuelson found them while conducting an air search. He landed on the river, picked them up and brought them to Bethel.
The brothers reported no injuries and both declined medical treatment.
BSAR searching for Bethel man
January 7, 2014
BSAR is conducting a search effort for a Bethel man who has been missing since before Christmas.
On December 22, 2013, BSAR was given notice that Preston Michaels had not been seen since December 17 and conducted a hasty search of all the fishcamps across from Bethel by the old airport, the area where Preston was last seen.
BSAR continued to conduct searches from the missing man since then. In the latest effort, 30-plus volunteers from BSAR and Napaskiak SAR groups combed the area again on Saturday Jan. 4, including the wood-cutting areas and trails in the old airport area but found no sign of Preston.
On Sunday Jan. 5, trails and roads around the Bethel Boat Harbor and Hangar Lake areas were searched with no luck. The Bethel-Akiachak trails and snowmachine trails in the wooded areas to Church Slough from Bethel were also checked but with no results.
Sources say Preston may have been a black down jacket and black snow pants, a white baseball cap along with a black beanie cap, and brown boots.
If anyone knows the whereabouts of Preston Michaels or may have information concerning him, please call BSAR at 545-HELP, the Bethel City Police at 311 or 543-3781, or the Alaska State Troopers at 543-2294.
SPOT device 'saves' stranded travelers
January 6, 2014
On New Year's Day, BSAR received a text message from a SPOT device (a personal locator beacon) asking for help from a stranded snowmachiner around the Eek Lake region.
A hasty SAR team was dispatched from Napaskiak which located the distressed snowmachine. The SAR team found individuals there and brought them back to Napaskiak and then Bethel.
BSAR holds annual fund raiser
Folks pour out from the bleachers during the BSAR Fiddle Dance to donate cash into a box for the victims of the ERA Caravan crash in St. Mary's on Friday.
December 1, 2013
On Nov. 29 and 30, 2013, the Bethel Search and Rescue organization held its annual Fiddle Dance fund raiser at the Bethel Regional High School gym. BSAR raises money during the annual Fiddle Dance for its search and rescue operations for the year.
The BSAR Fiddle Dance event included a raffle for cash prizes, a drum of heating fuel from Delta Western, a snowsuit from YKHC, a chain saw and ice auger, chopped wood from Napaimute Tribal Council, an ipad from GCI, a tow hitch from Shorty's Shop, homemade sleds by Jake Johnson and homemade crosses by Don Johnson, and gift certifcates from Crowley's.
Three beautiful homemade Yupik parkas made by Olga Riley were also raffled off. During the event, the VFW in Bethel presented a check for $5,000. The Kusko 300 organization also contributed $1,000.
This year's included a prayer and donation event for the victims of the caravan crash on Friday night that killed four people and injured 6 near St. Mary's. A prayer and song was held by elder Paul John of Toksook Bay, afterwhich a cardboard box was placed in the middle of the floor and everyone was asked to donate cash. Audience members streams out the bleachers and filled up the box with about $1,500 in cash.
During this time, the BSAR organization hands out awards for certain recognitions. This year's Business of the Year is ERA Aviation. The Elder Search and Rescue Volunteer of the Year is Henry Tikiun, Sr. of Atmautluak. The BSAR Rookie of the Year is Francis Harpak. Finally, the BSAR Member of the Year is Allen Joseph.
This year's annual BSAR fund raiser was a huge success, said BSAR President Mike Riley. "I would like to thank all the businesses who gave to the event and all who came to the fiddle dance," he said. "Without your support, the fund raiser wouldn't be a 'big hit'. Much thanks to the VFW and the Kusko 300 group for their donations."
This year, the BSAR Fiddle Dance was made possible by the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, under whose gaming permit the event was held.
Alakanuk elder goes missing
December 1, 2013
Yesterday, Nov. 30, 2013, Gus Lee, and elder in Alakanuk went missing after taking off to check his blackfish traps in the afternoon, but did not return as expected.
A hasty crew of three SAR volunteers went out into the night to see if they could locate him but could not. The crew then returned to Alakanuk to make another attempt in the morning.
Three search crews began searching today, and they were assisted by DPS aircraft. Mr. Lee was found along the coast cold and wet. He had gotten disoriented and ended up along the seashore, and had gotten stuck.
The search crews brought him home immediately to Alakanuk where he is reported to be doing fine.