Bulldozer headed to Susitna Dam project site falls through lake ice

A Bulldozer that was part of the Cat-train headed to Stephan (Step-PAN) lake fell through ice into a pond on Friday evening, killing its operator.

Alaska state troopers report that Donald Kiehl (age 72 from North Pole),  was deceased on scene.  State Troopers were able to secure transportation to the scene with a helicopter that was operating in the area.  Investigation revealed that a crew of men were transporting equipment and machinery to the Stephan Lake Lodge to construct an air strip and help establish a work-camp for studies for the Susitna Watana Dam. According to trooper’s reports, the crew was crossing a low mountain when the D6 Caterpillar driven by Kiehl broke through the ice on an alpine lake and sank.  Kiehl was retrieved from the lake and individuals on scene attempted CPR on Kiehl but he was unable to be resuscitated.

Wayne Dyok heads the Susitna Watana Dam project for the Alaska Energy Authority, who had given the contract to Stephan Lake Lodge to build the research camp.


While the Alaska Energy Authority says it was the decision of Stephan Lake Lodge, who contracted to Alaska Diversified Services to bring the equipment overland, despite warming May temperatures.


The investigation in to the tragedy is on-going.

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