Alaskan Medevac aircraft crash
An Alaskan Medevac aircraft crashed under unknown circumstances about 15 miles west of Quartz Creek Airport in Cooper Landing, Alaska on Friday, 29 November 2019. The twin-engine Piper PA-31 left Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport on Friday around 18h30, according to the NTSB. Search-and-rescue crews recovered three bodies Sunday afternoon, 1 December 2019, from the site of the Friday aircraft crash in mountainous terrain on the northern Kenai Peninsula, Alaska. The Alaska Mountain Rescue Group, troopers and a National Transportation Safety Board investigator left early Sunday to reach the site by ground. Ken Marsh, a spokesman for the troopers, said the group reached the crash site just before 14h00 and recovery efforts were complete around 15h00. The bodies will be transported to the State Medical Examiner Office for identification, according to an online alert issued by troopers. The Medevac aircraft was headed to Seward Airport, where two Medevac Alaska employees planned to pick up a patient from Providence Seward Medical Centre before returning to Anchorage, according to a statement from Security Aviation, which operated the plane. In a Facebook post late Sunday, Medevac Alaska identified its two employees aboard the plane as Rob Cartner and Maddox Burts.
The plane was reported overdue at 19h15. An aircraft dispatched by the Alaska Rescue Coordination Centre flew over the crash Friday night but troopers wrote in the online alert that weather and terrain prevented a landing at the site. A Department of Public Safety helicopter flew over the scene Saturday afternoon with an NTSB investigator onboard but the helicopter was also unable to land.
Investigators believe the plane burned after crashing at about 1 500 feet elevation.
Marsh said military aircraft with the Rescue Coordination Centre flew over the crash site Friday night but rescuers were unable to reach the ground due to steep, mountainous terrain and poor weather. But from that initial look, Marsh said, it appeared unlikely that anyone onboard had survived. “You could see the nature of the crash and the fact that there was a subsequent fire and there were just no signs of life when they flew over, so it seemed fairly clear at the time,” Marsh reported.
The troopers’ Helo-3 flew over the crash site on Saturday with an investigator from the National Transportation Safety Board, but they were also not able to land, Marsh added.
It was not until Sunday that members of the Alaska Mountain Rescue Group, also accompanied by the NTSB investigator, climbed up from the Sterling Highway to reach the site, Marsh stated. They recovered the bodies of the three on board the plane by 15h00 Sunday, according to troopers.
The circumstances of the crash are under investigation.
Source: Alaska Public Media