News Release

Search and Recovery Operations Halted in Search for Downed Flightseeing Aircraft

crashed plane on the side of a very steep and snow-covered mountain
Location of crashed plane on Thunder Mountain

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News Release Date: August 6, 2018

Contact: Katherine Belcher, (907) 683-9583

TALKEETNA, Alaska – A search and rescue crew from the National Park Service has reached the sight of a flightseeing plane that crashed over the weekend and has confirmed four of the passengers are deceased and the fifth is unaccounted for and presumed dead.

NPS mountaineering rangers took advantage of a brief window of clearing weather and were able to view the wreckage for the first time since the plane went down at approximately 6 p.m. on Aug. 4. The wreckage is near the summit of Thunder Mountain, a feature located roughly 14 miles southwest of the summit of Denali, in extremely technical terrain on a hanging glacier that spans a crevasse.

An NPS ranger was short-hauled to the crash site (suspended beneath the helicopter) where he dug through the snow that had filled the aircraft and found the bodies of four of the five passengers. There were no footprints or disturbances leading away from the site and there were no other signs to indicate any of the passengers made it out of the plane.

The names of the pilot and passengers are being withheld pending notification of family members.

A temporary flight restriction remains in place over part of Denali National Park and Preserve to minimize traffic in the area of the crash site.

Last updated: August 9, 2018

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