Search Resumes for Flightseeing Plane Crash

a steep, snow-covered ridge overlooking a large glacier
Thunder Mountain, as seen from Thunder Glacier

Submitted photo

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News Release Date: August 6, 2018

Contact: Katherine Belcher, (907) 683-9583

TALKEETNA, Alaska – A temporary flight restriction is in place over part of Denali National Park and Preserve as search and rescue crews continue to look for the sight of a flightseeing that crashed more than 36 hours ago.

The NPS high-altitude helicopter, along with an Air National Guard C-130 and two HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopters, departed early this morning and are attempting to reach the crash site. A U.S. Army CH-47 Chinook from Fort Wainwright is in Talkeetna and will launch as soon as possible. A ground crew is onboard to be inserted into a glacier staging area to assist with rescue operations.

The de Havilland Beaver (DHC-2), operated by K2 Aviation, took off from Talkeetna at 5:06 p.m. for a flightseeing tour around the Kahiltna Glacier. It was heading southeast at approximately 6 p.m. when it made impact near the summit of Thunder Mountain (10,920 feet), located roughly 14 miles southwest of the summit of Denali. Thunder Mountain is more of a ridge than a mountain, stretching roughly a mile long from east to west and rising about 3,000 feet above both the Tokositna and Kahiltna Glaciers. Terrain in the vicinity of the crash site is characterized as extremely steep and a mix of near-vertical rock, ice and snow.

The NPS has established a temporary flight restriction to minimize traffic in the area of our search efforts. It is centered on Thunder peak with a 5-mile radius to include:
  • North to Mount Hunter
  • East to the Big Y of the Tokositna Glacier
  • South to Avalanche Spire
  • West to the center of the Kahiltna Glacier
  • Surface to 18,000'

The passengers are from Poland but their names, as well as that of the pilot, have not been released. NPS staff is in contact with the Polish Consulate in Los Angeles.

On Sunday, flight crews with the Air National Guard patrolled the area in a C-130 and two HH-60 helicopters conducted aerial overflights of the accident zone, but search conditions were hampered by zero visibility and low cloud cover.

topographic map showing numerous mountains and glaciers
Above: Thunder Mountain, located southeast of Mount Foraker and Denali



Last updated: August 6, 2018

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