Troopers release name of pilot killed in a plane crash near Palmer

Published: Oct. 29, 2016 at 7:07 PM AKDT
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One man is dead after a Cessna 172 crashed in the Knik River Valley.

The first report of a downed plane near Friday Creek and Knik River came in just before 3 p.m. Saturday.

The National Transportation Safety Board and the Alaska State Troopers arrived on scene about 30 minutes later, finding the sole occupant of the plane, 25-year old Ray Justen of Wasilla dead on arrival.

Troopers say Justen's body was recovered and airlifted to the State Medical Examiners office.

According to Jason Sharlow and Don Umbarger, they were flagged down by a woman while driving their 4-wheelers. The two men were taken to the plane and proceeded to pull out the pilot who they say, after checking his vitals, was dead.

Sharlow and Umbarger told KTUU reporter Patrick Enslow that the pilots brother and friends were 4-wheeling and watching the plane fly around all day before it crashed, confirming only the pilot was on board at the time of the incident.

NTSB officials began their investigation into the cause of the crash Saturday afternoon, they say weather permitting, the investigation will continue Sunday.