Alaska State Troopers in Fairbanks received a call from Piotr Markielau, 24, reporting the death of his wife, Veranika Nikanava, 24, at a river crossing on the Stampede Trail near Healy on 7/25/19, at approximately 2352 hours. The couple was hiking and attempting to cross the Teklanika River, which was running high and swift due to recent rains, when Ms. Nikanava was swept under the water. Mr. Markielau reported that he was able to pull his wife out of the water some 75-100 feet downriver, but that she was by then deceased.
A Trooper was dispatched from Nenana and responded with volunteers with the Tri-Valley Fire Department, using ATVs to reach the scene and recover the body. The body has been sent to the State Medical Examiner. An investigation into this incident in ongoing.
Hikers, rafters, and others are encouraged to enjoy Alaska’s outdoors and to come prepared for challenging weather, water, and geographical conditions.