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Thread: Snowmachiners missing in alaska

  1. #1

    Exclamation Snowmachiners missing in alaska

    SNOWMACHINERS MISSING: Hello, I am the step daughter of Dave Luce. He and my mom, Janice own ‘The Luce’s’ which is a store on the Yentna River in Alaska. Anyone who runs the Iron Dog up here probably knows them or maybe the store. The store is wood with a blue metal roof and there is an 8 room lodge next to it. It is 9 miles up the Yentna (from the Susitna join). Dave and another man (Russ) from the river are missing and have been for maybe two and a half or three days. The State Troopers and the National Guard are trying to get a helicopter up as soon as the weather clears. There was a ground search last night, Tuesday, Nov 23rd by locals from the river and the Big Lake area. No one has found anything yet.
    I know that some of you in the Iron Dog competition have been going on the Yentna and Susitna already even though it is pretty nasty out there. I want to make you all aware of Dave and the other man missing so if you are going out there, you can keep your eyes open for any oddities that might give a clue where the two men are. Both guys are pretty tough and have awesome survival skills since they have lived on the river for many, many years. I know they had told neighbors they planned to go into town for fuel so they would have each been on a machine and would have probably been pulling a sled each. At least one of the machines would have been an Alpine. PLEASE note that my mom and the rest of us DO NOT want any of you to go looking for these guys unless you are already up in the area training. The river is VERY dangerous right now and there is a chance they have gone under the ice. We are hoping for the best, but if the two guys are still alive and are just stuck somewhere or something, they will be alright until they are found. We DO NOT want anyone risking their lives looking for them, so please don’t put yourselves in any harm. Just let us know if you have any information or find any clues on the trail if you are already our training.
    Sorry for the long post, I am rambling because it had been a long night for all of us. Also, if anyone is out by the Luce’s Store, could you go up and check the rooms in the lodge and look in the store if you can? About a mile off the river, through the woods, they also have a log cabin that they live in and some work buildings. We want to make sure they are not at the store or the lodge or the cabins. There has been no CB or phone contact with these guys for three days and Dave’s wife (my mom) was just diagnosed with cancer yesterday and Dave knew she would find out if she had cancer or not yesterday, so he would have called for certain. Besides, he and my mom talk on the phone every night and morning while she is in town and she has been in for over a week. I will leave my phone number on here as well in case anyone has any information. My number is 817-366-0922 and I am Vicky. I live in Texas at the moment, but call anytime if you have any information. Thanks to all of you even if you aren’t in the area. I know snowmachiners since I was born and raised in Alaska and grew up around them, and you would all go out there looking if you could. Again, DO NOT put your own lives at risk please! Please say a prayer for these guys regardless and plan for the worst, but hope and pray for the best. Also, mom said to remind any of you who might be riding in that area to please watch out for the search teams and maybe slow down a little around them to make the search a little easier.
    Thanks again to you all....

  2. #2
    Member Dupont Spinner's Avatar
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    Vicky,
    All of us that have spent time on the river know these men well and hold high hope of finding them in good health. Many folks are putting all their effort into finding them.

    Prayers for the safe return of your Dad, Russ, and hope for a speedy recovery for your Mom. We all are with you.

    John, Sharon, Janissa
    Chugiak, Ak

  3. #3
    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    Prayers sent for you and your family. It sounds like the troopers are in the air looking now so hopefully good news will follow soon! Wish I could get out there and help but at 1/2 a world away prayers will have to suffice.

  4. #4
    Member Dirtofak's Avatar
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    Looks like they were found alive!!!

    http://forums.outdoorsdirectory.com/...e-yentna-river
    I don't mean to sound bitter, cold, or cruel, but I am, so that's how it comes out.
    Bill Hicks

  5. #5

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    they found dave alive, also his buddie, but hes hyperthermic

  6. #6

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    We are so thankful they are ok!

    Thank you so much for the phone calls and help and for updating this for me. I am typing through tears at the moment and just thank God they are alright!! My mom is extremely happy of course, and Dave better hope he had the strike anywhere matches mom always makes him carry in a water proof bag or my mom will have a few things to say to him ;-) We are just very thankful and it really reminds us of what to be thankful for this time of year. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving and thanks again!

    All of you coming together to help us out is what being an Alaskan is all about...you guys all make me very homesick :-)


    Vicky

  7. #7
    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    After the way this year has gone it sure is fantastic to have a story turn out with a positive ending!!! Sure hope that we get the story and the what went right vs what went wrong. We all win when we can learn from mistakes without having to make them ourselves!

  8. #8

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    As soon as I get some more information, I will put it on this forum. Thanks!

  9. #9

    Default Here's The Latest...

    Troopers called my mom and said the helicopter had found them. Mom said they must have dropped a radio from the helicopter to Dave because the helicopter pilot spoke to Dave and found out Russ was hypothermic. So far, mom doesn't think they have Dave and Russ in the helicopter yet. She is not sure they are in an area they can land in or if they will have to get a snow machine to them or what the situation is. Will update as I find out more...

  10. #10

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    Just spoke to the Alaska State Troopers Search and Rescue and they said they have them both now and left Dave at the lodge and transported Russ to Providence Hospital in Anchorage. The trooper I spoke to said he thinks they had to bring the helicopter with the hoist on it to get Dave and Russ up into the helicopter. He said they found them up in the trees which I am guessing is the woods up off o fthe river. More information as I get it...

  11. #11
    Premium Member denalihunter's Avatar
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    Really great to hear! We've been worried sick about them. Thanks for keeping us updated.

    Claude and Jennifer
    Experience Real Alaska! www.alpinecreeklodge.com

  12. #12

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    Hello all. Just got the rest of the story from my mom, who spoke to Dave. Dave said that Russ had asked him if he wanted to go into town and get fuel because Russ was very low and he wanted to check out the trail. Dave said no because the river and weather were too bad and that Russ could just take some of Dave's fuel. Russ still planned on going without Dave so Dave decided he had better go so Russ was not on his own. I will try to remember the details as well as I can but I may get a few place names incorrect. Mom said they went down to Scary Tree and went along there I think. Russ wanted to check out a trail that the Iron Dog Racers had been going on recently so they went wherever that was. Not sure if it was after that or on the way there, but Russ's machine broke through the ice so Dave circled around in front of him and pulled him out. Since Russ was wet and cold then, Dave said they needed to head back to the lodge and Russ agreed. On the way back to the lodge, Dave's machine fell through the ice and Russ circled around to try and pull him out, and then Russ's machine fell through the ice. At that point, they were about 9 miles from the lodge I think and Dave wanted to walk back but Russ just wasn't able to get very far before he colapsed. Dave went into the woods and found a summer cabin that he was able to get into and he got Russ into it. The cabin was not insulated and Dave was not able to find any matches so they had a cold night the first night. On the second day, I believe, Dave found two flint fire starters in the cabin. The first one didn't work, but Dave was able to use the second one to start a fire. Dave said Russ wasn't doing very well and he was trying to decide if he should walk back to the lodge for help or stay with Russ. Luckily, Dave started to hear the snow machines and he said he even heard a helicopter last night so he knew people might be out searching. They were quite a way off the river though, from what I understand, and were not able to get a signal to the people searching fast enough. The next day, Dave heard the planes and helicopter searching, and saw Kenny but no one was able to see him where they were. So, Dave hiked down to the river and waited out there until someone was able to spot him. So, Dave was dropped off at the Lodge and Russ was taken to Providence Hospital in Anchorage. It didn't sound like Russ was doing very well though so I am praying that he comes through. The machines are still out there, but my mom has threatened Dave with his life to stay away from them until it freezes. I don't think Dave has any desire to go after them anytime soon anyway :-)

    I just want everyone to know how much we all appreciate your help and support. You will never know what it has meant and means to us. Mom wishes she could call and thank you all personally, but she is just so tired right now. She is still in Anchorage since she missed the good weather window to get out to the lodge. Mom says Dave was extremely emotional when she was speaking to him after she told him all that had been done to look for him. He said he felt a bit embarrassed as well, but we are just glad he is around to be embarrassed. Dave was going to call you all and thank you and talk to you on the phone, but he was just too emotional to talk on the phone. Please just know that we are so thankful for you all. God Bless You and have a great Thanksgiving!!!

  13. #13
    Moderator hunt_ak's Avatar
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    Wow, good news for sure! Guess we need to respect the thin ice for a while....

  14. #14

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    I couldn't have said it better! Pretty sure my mom said it better when she spoke to Dave though; maybe not better, but I'll bet that same idea was metioned to Dave quite a few times...probably a little more forcefully though ;-)

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    Member pike_palace's Avatar
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    Glad to hear they are okay, hopefully they use better judgement next time.
    "Ya can't stop a bad guy with a middle finger and a bag of quarters!!!!"- Ted Nugent.

  16. #16
    Member Dupont Spinner's Avatar
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    Glad Dave was there for Russ.

    Russ is one tough SOB. There is a picture at Yetena Station of him with a complete ice beard. Age and some underlying medical issues I am sure come to bear on his recovery. Russ I pray for a speedy recovery and I can't wait to hear the story 1st hand. Get well soon!!!!!

    Dave I am glad you are alright and look forward to seeing you soon.


    ON EDIT: Vicky you hit it almost 100%.....Scarey Tree is a very well known Check Point along the river and is the normal split point to turn North towards Deheska Landing or continue ~east towards Big Lake. If they were trying to take the Iron Dog Trail then they were above the confluence of the the two rivers.

  17. #17
    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    Thanks for keeping folks updated about this. I don't know Dave and Russ, but my brother has a cabin upriver from Luce's and knows them both. I called him with the news that they were missing, and then 30 seconds later with news that they were found (I didn't read far enough down before calling the first time). He holds both in high regard and was very relieved at the good news.

    On a side note, he was planning a trip to his cabin on Saturday and is now changing his plans. Thank you - you very well might be saving others from calamity this weekend by sharing this. May you and your family have a wonderful Thanksgiving tomorrow.

  18. #18
    Member dkwarthog's Avatar
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    I find it hard to believe that any sane person would even consider running the Big Su or Yentna rivers with the weather we've been having! But then again I dont consider Irondoggers and Yentna river folk sane!!!

    For the record, I am kidding about the Yentna folks, not about the I-doggers though, those guys are NUTS!

  19. #19

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    That's a great ending to a very scary story! No matter how much we think we know, nature always kicks us in the butt from time to time just to say who's BOSS! A good lesson for all of us who think we "have Alaska wired". Can't say how glad I am it all worked out!
    "If your not the lead dog.... the view never changes"

  20. #20
    Member Dirtofak's Avatar
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    Vicky - Thank you very much for the update! Russ, best wishes in a fast recovery. I hope everyone,including myself, can learn from this experience. Be safe this weekend and Happy Thanksgiving!
    Mike
    I don't mean to sound bitter, cold, or cruel, but I am, so that's how it comes out.
    Bill Hicks

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