Pilot identified in fatal plane crash near Whittier

 The wreckage of N7061W, found crashed near Whittier. Photo from AST.
The wreckage of N7061W, found crashed near Whittier. Photo from AST. (KTUU)
Published: May. 17, 2018 at 7:27 AM AKDT
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Days after a plane went down,

authorities investigating the crash have released the identity of that man.

Brett Andrews, 31, of Anchorage, was flying the plane on Saturday when it plummeted into the mountainside near Whittier, according to the Alaska State Troopers.

Andrews was a student pilot and was registered to the plane, though officials say no flight plan was filed. The flight originated from Merrill Field and the plane was headed for Valdez when it went down.

The Piper Cherokee PA-28-180, tail number N7061W, sustained substantial damage in the crash, the NTSB reported.

Andrews' body was recovered earlier this week by a recovery team operating a helicopter on May 13. The plane's emergency locator in Whittier helped rescuers find the crash site about half a mile south of town.

Weather initially delayed response to the crash site, preventing access to the mountains there. The plane was later found at about 2,000 ft elevation, the NTSB said.

Andrews' body has been taken to the State Medical Examiner's Office, troopers say, while the investigation into what caused the crash continues.

The NTSB will be conducting a complete flight investigation with preliminary results published Thursday, ahead of the final determination which could take months.

The airplane had an Artex 406-megahertz ELT that was designed to "instantly transmit a distress signal to search and rescue satellites, thereby alerting rescue personnel within minutes of the location of the crash," the NTSB reported.

However, they stated, the registered owner on file was a "foreign government entity" and the recovered ELT unit was placarded with a country code for Ireland.