Pilot of crashed aircraft near Hatcher Pass located safe
PALMER, Alaska (KTUU) - Alaska State Troopers say that the pilot of an aircraft which was located after a crash near Hatcher Pass on Feb. 6 has been located safely, but not before thousands of dollars were expended in search efforts for the man.
Troopers wrote in an online dispatch that members of the Alaska Wildlife Troopers, Alaska Air National Guard, and volunteer Civil Air Patrol began searching for a downed aircraft after an Emergency Locator Transmitter was activated east of the Parks Highway near the communities of Willow and Talkeetna on Feb. 6.
Following the signal, no distress calls or reports of downed aircraft came in, but the Civil Air Patrol began looking for downed aircraft with eight volunteer members over multiple days, who searched for five hours in the air and 13 hours on the ground when severe weather hampered aerial searches.
Wildlife troopers and the Air National Guard both searched with helicopters, but the wreckage was not located until Feb. 10, when Civil Air Patrol members discovered an overturned 1946 Taylorcraft BV12-D near Lynx Peak in the vicinity of Hatcher Pass. A rescue team from the Air National Guard flew in and discovered the plane empty with no signs of injury, but human tracks led up the mountain away from the plane. There was no sign of the location of the pilot.
“The aircraft was no longer airworthy, and he departed the area with another pilot in a different plane. The owner is working to remove the aircraft from the area, and the NTSB was notified of the incident,” troopers wrote in the dispatch.
Troopers were unable to locate the pilot until he was reached by phone at 6:35 p.m. on Feb. 10. Troopers reported that the pilot suffered a mechanical issue during flight and took a hard landing before he was able to self-rescue with the help of someone else.
“With Alaska’s highly active private pilot community, we are hoping that instances like this can be a demonstration of the resources that Alaska’s search and rescue authorities will expend to locate and rescue pilots if they crash or require emergency assistance,” trooper spokesperson Austin McDaniel said in an email. “We ask that pilots help us by notifying federal officials and search and rescue authorities of abandoned aircraft in the backcountry or minor crashes where the pilot self-rescues so that we will be available to respond to other calls for help that may come in.”
Copyright 2022 KTUU. All rights reserved.