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    National Park & Preserve Alaska

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  • Road Open to: Mile 30 (Teklanika River)

    The Denali Park Road is currently open to Mile 30, Teklanika River. If wintry conditions occur, the road may close at some point closer to the park entrance. More »

Names of Plane Crash Victims Released

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Date: August 3, 2010
Contact: Kris Fister, (907) 683-9583

The individuals onboard the Fairchild C-123 cargo plane that crashed in Denali National Park on Sunday, August 1 were Bill Michel, age 61of Delta Junction, Alaska; John Eshleman, age 52 of Wasilla, Alaska and Paul Quartly, age 66 of Wasilla, Alaska. Michel was the owner of All West Freight, Inc. and the plane’s pilot. The identities were determined through interviews with acquaintances, friends, and relatives familiar with the plane and the intended flight on Sunday.  

Investigators with the Office of the State Medical Examiner arrived in the park Monday afternoon and will oversee the recovery of the remains of the three men as part of the on-site investigation. Official identification of the deceased will be made by the State Medical Examiner by forensic examination. Investigators with the National Transportation Safety Board and the FAA arrived at the park mid-morning, and have completed an aerial reconnaissance and preliminary ground survey of the site. Those offices will take over the on-scene investigation when the State Medical Examiner’s work is completed.

Responsibility for overseeing the continued mop up of hot spots within the one-acre area burned by the wildfire resulting from the plane crash has been transferred from the Alaska Fire Service smokejumpers to Denali’s NPS wildland fire fighter personnel. National Park rangers will continue to provide security for the site until the ground investigation is completed.

The Denali Park Road is open to traffic, and the Rock Creek Trail has reopened. The Roadside Trail, which will remain closed until the on-site investigation has been completed. The Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR) that was in effect over the crash site was cancelled by mid-afternoon on Monday.

Did You Know?

scenic image of a green plain bisected by a thin river, mountains and clouds in the distance

Cold temperatures limit trees from growing at high elevation in Denali. Warmer temperatures, however, have led to woody vegetation growing at ever-higher elevations. Treeline changes are a conspicuous sign of climate change.