One dead and one missing in suspected boat accident

Troopers found the body of Holly Mayeda, age 25, in the Kuskokwim River near Napakiak on September 14, 2018. (Google Maps screen capture)

One body has been recovered and the search continues for a second person involved in a presumed boat accident on the Kuskokwim River last week.

Search and rescue volunteers are dragging the river on the south end of the island across from Bethel, hoping to recover the body of 28-year-old Stacey Hoagland of Akiak. Hoagland is missing and is believed to have been involved in a recent boat accident.

On Thursday evening, State Troopers found the body of Holly Mayeda, age 25, floating in the Kuskokwim River near Napakiak. There were no signs of foul play. The next day, troopers found a boat submerged on the south end of the island across from Bethel. Law enforcement believe that Mayeda and Hoagland were traveling in the boat together.

Since Friday, multiple local search and rescue groups have been working together to recover Hoagland. Perry Barr is a Bethel Search and Rescue member who was involved with the recovery effort on Sunday.

“We spent all day out there,” Barr told KYUK Monday morning. “Bethel Search and Rescue, Akiak Search and Rescue, Kasigluk Search and Rescue and others participated. So we had 15 plus boats out there, and they were all actively searching.”

The volunteers are concentrating their search efforts where the submerged boat was discovered near the island across from Bethel.

“The boat was found overturned; there was some debris that indicated that the boat didn’t float too far from where it had been discovered,” Barr said. “We figured that that would be a great place to start.”

The searchers are using drag bars to comb the river bottom to look for Hoagland. It’s difficult, manual labor involving a heavy system of ropes, metal bars and lead hooks.

On Monday afternoon, members of Bethel Search and Rescue are boating to Akiak to pick up a clothing sample that belonged to Hoagland. Bethel Search and Rescue Canine D.O.G. will use the scent to search for the missing man.

Anna Rose MacArthur is a reporter at KYUK in Bethel.

Previous articleCourthouse attack won’t lead to more officers, but may increase vigilance
Next articleFor methane researcher, golf course bubbles are a first