Stacy Kaiser 05-26-06
Hayden Kaiser

Woman, toddler die after boat capsizes on family outing on Chena

Associated Press, June 1, 2006

FAIRBANKS -- A woman and her 2-year-old daughter died after their boat capsized on the swollen Chena River.

Stacy Kaiser, 34, and daughter Hayden Kaiser were trapped under an 18-foot rented riverboat late Friday night and drowned.

Brent Kaiser, 32, was piloting the boat. He and children age 5, 9, 14 and 15 made it to shore without injury, said Fairbanks Police Department Lt. Jim Geier.

Four of the children in the boat were members of the Kaiser family. The 15-year-old was a family friend.

The Chena River is running fast and high, typical for late May because of runoff from breakup, said John Dragomir, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

The accident occurred near the Carlson Center, west of downtown.

Police said Brent Kaiser apparently steered toward the river bank to avoid debris. The back of the boat lodged against the bank and took on water. The strong current flipped the boat, Geier said.

Nearby volleyball players pulled the trapped mother and child from the water and performed CPR until paramedics arrived.

Stacy Kaiser worked as an ultrasound technician at Fairbanks Memorial Hospital, said her cousin, Amanda Silva of California.

"She was known for just being a great mom, always there for everybody," Silva said.

The Kaiser family had lived in Anchorage and Anderson before moving to California. But they missed Alaska and moved to Fairbanks in January, Silva said.

Brent Kaiser works as a firefighter at the Fort Wainwright Fire Department, one of four agencies that responded.