DOVER, Tenn. (WKRN) — An Alaskan search-and-rescue team is raising money to aid in the search for Steve Keel, a Tennessee man who disappeared while hunting near Deadhorse last summer.
In a Friday social media post, the Alaska Dive Search Rescue and Recovery Team said Keel’s family has asked them to search a lake that was near his campsite.
The team of volunteers hopes the search will provide new clues in his disappearance as air and ground searches have produced little new information. They plan to embark on the mission toward the end of March or first of April.
Keel, an avid outdoorsman and Dover resident, was on a caribou hunting trip with a friend when he vanished. They arrived in Alaska on Aug. 20, 2022, and drove almost 500 miles north to Deadhorse.
His wife told News 2 Keel and his friend were in constant contact with their families throughout the trip. Keel left the campsite on Aug. 28, 2022, to get supplies at a spot about a mile away where they stored their caribou meat, but never returned.
In the days following his disappearance, the Dover community jumped in to help look for Keel. Four Middle Tennessee men flew to Alaska to search on their own, and Keel’s own sons made the trip, but there was never any sign of him.
In a social media post earlier this month, Keel’s family said four new search groups would be flying to Alaska to look for Keel between winter and spring. The family withdrew a $15,000 reward announced in September in order to help cover expenses for the search groups.
According to the Alaska Dive Search Rescue and Recovery Team, trips to Deadhorse are not cheap. Just a round trip for four people with search equipment is expected to cost around $4,000, not including the cost of fuel and vehicle rentals.
The team is in the process of putting together an estimated cost for the entire mission and securing the required over tundra travel waiver to get to the site.
“We charge nothing for our time, but we need to make sure we have the funds to do the mission,” the post said. “If you make a donation, please let us know it is for the search for Steve, that way we can keep those funds allocated only for that search.”
Donations can be made through the following:
- PayPal: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Venmo: @jeremy-lilly-6
- Cash App: $akdiversq
- Mail: 7004A Gold Kings Ave Anchorage, AK 99504