Body found at mouth of river ID'd as missing angler

Sep 18, 2017

The body found washed ashore at the mouth of the Kenai River (last) Tuesday has positively been identified as that of a Colorado man who went missing more than a month earlier in Soldotna.

The State Medical Examiner's Office announced this (Monday) morning that the body was indeed that of Phillip Kurt Keltner. The Keltner family has been notified by the medical examiner's office in Anchorage and his remains have been released to them.

Keltner was one of four anglers thrown from their boat when it went out of control on the Kenai River late on August 4th. According to an Alaska State Troopers, none of the four occupants were wearing life preservers, and while three of the men were able to swim to shore, the 63-year-old Keltner was swept downriver.

A multi-agency search of the river and shore ensued, but no sign of the missing man was found. The Troopers suspended its search the next day, but family members traveled from Colorado to continue it. Keltner summered in Sterling, and spent much of his time fishing and playing senior league softball.

The incident happened near Centennial Campground in Soldotna, downstream of the Sterling Highway bridge, about 20 river miles from where Keltner's body was found.