Wire cable that caused Mat-Su plane crash not illegal, DNR says
CHICKALOON, Alaska (KTUU) - A wire cable that stretched across the Matanuska River near Chickaloon that caused a deadly plane crash this month has been deemed legal in the estimation of the Department of Natural Resources.
The Piper PA-18 Super Cub aircraft was solely piloted by 46-year-old Palmer resident Joshua Seagrave on Nov. 10 when it collided with the heavy-gauge steel wire that stretched across the river. Investigators said it appeared Seagrave was flying at an altitude of about 30 feet when the plane hit the wire.
Lorraine Henry, the Director of Communications at the department, said in an email Thursday that after officials reviewed data, all structures associated with the cable crossing were sitting on privately owned land.
She said that there had not been any previous concerns reported to the state by others regarding the wire, and that the state does its best to “protect Alaskans’ free access to the navigable or public waters of the State,” as provided in the state constitution.
“DNR is unaware of any state statutes or regulations specific to aerial cable crossings over navigable waterbodies that do not impede the actual navigation or use of the relevant waters and has no record of any applications or complaints associated with this cable system,” Henry wrote.
Clint Johnson, the head chief of the National Transportation Safety Board’s Alaska region, said that the agency had not been aware of that particular cable at that location of the Matanuska River, but said numerous pilots came forward after the accident on social media stating that there had been concerns prior to the Nov. 10 crash.
The crash was first reported around 1 p.m. near mile 77 of the Glenn Highway, located near the small community of Chickaloon. Rescuers who arrived there first found the plane upside in shallow water. The investigation found that the aircraft’s wings had been sheered off when it came into contact with the wire.
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