(Photo owned by K2 Aviation)
Sad news coming from the 907 State. Late Saturday evening a Dehavilland Beaver, operated by K2 aviation, was involved in a plane crash. The aircraft had four passengers doing a Flight seeing tour when it got into an accident on Thunder Mountain which is 11,000ft.
(A view of Thunder Mountain (courtesy of the National Park Service))
When the accident first happen, the pilot called into the Air taxi to report the accident with injuries. He made a call an hour later and that’s the last time they were ever heard from. Searchers could not get to the aircraft Sunday due to weather. Monday morning they were able send in a high altitude rescue helicopter and lower a park ranger down. He confirmed that four people were deceased and could not find the fifth person, with weather turning for the worse they left after only being on scene for 5 minutes. All the passengers names have yet been to release due to the US Trying get a hold of their families in Poland.
Due to how high the accident is, and how bad weather can turn in a second deploying ground crews is nearly impossible. The US Army has brought in two CH-47 “Chinooks”, The US Air Force has brought in an HC-130 and Two HH-60s.
(Location of Thunder Mountain)
This is the worse accident in Denali’s history, and the first one in many years.
Pilot Keli Mahoney and three passengers died in May 2003 when the Cessna 185 she flew crashed at the 8,200-foot level of South Hunter Pass.
Well-known pilot and dog musher Don Bowers died, along with three rangers, in a 2000 crash along the Yentna Glacier after Bowers reported a wall of clouds blocking his normal route to Talkeetna.
In 1981, a flight crashed on the mountain and all aboard survived — initially.
A Cessna 185 operated by Hudson’s Air Service crashed at 10,300 feet in Kahiltna Pass on Denali.
Pilot Ed Hommer and three passengers — Hommer’s brother-in-law Dan Hartmann and tourists Patrick Scanlon and Mike Clouser — all survived the initial crash, though Hartmann and Scanlon ultimately died on the mountain. Rescuers didn’t reach them for four days and nights.
Clouser and Scanlon’s estate won a federal court case against the United States, asserting negligence in the rescue effort to retrieve them from the mountain.
Being a former SAR member - I can feel for these crews, trying get some where, and some one where it’s nearly impossible. This is a mutli agency operation which is a ton of work. These are America’s best helicopter pilots at work, working in the most gnarly weather, with a mountain that kills quickly with it’s weather. These are America’s best park rangers risking their lives to get five people home. This is just a preview of Alaska SAR and how insanely amazing people working together can get a job done.