Family: Missing pilot ‘loved by all who know him’
Crash investigators arrived Thursday at the Yukon River crash site of a small plane reported overdue Monday, while the missing pilot’s loved ones remember him as a man of God.
Two National Transportation Safety Board investigators reached the spot between Russian Mission and Bethel where 31-year-old Kyle Stevens’ Cessna 205 was found, according to NTSB Alaska chief Clint Johnson. Their arrival was delayed a day due to poor weather, when a Wednesday helicopter flight couldn’t get through.
Alaska State Troopers spokeswoman Megan Peters didn’t have any updates on the search for Stevens, who wasn’t found with the aircraft. Stevens had last been seen by the pilot of another plane he was flying with, before he encountered heavy fog.
A YouCaring website has been established to accept donations for Stevens' loved ones. His family released the following statement overnight Wednesday about his life and times in Russian Mission:
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.