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Contact: Jan Maslen, 907-822-7206
Copper Center, AK— At approximately 8:04 p.m. on September 3, 2022, the National Park Service (NPS) was notified of a plane crash at the Jakes Bar airstrip in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve involving a Cessna 180. The pilot, Michael Britsch, from Anchorage, Alaska misjudged the wind direction while attempting to land. Due to a gusting tail wind, he was unable to stop, and the aircraft tire struck a large rock and flipped over.
Park rangers contacted the pilot and passenger, after the accident and determined that they only sustained bumps and bruises and had enough rations for several days. They were able to stay the night in the public use cabin near the airstrip and were picked up by a friend on Sunday, September 4 and transported back to Anchorage.
The NPS would like to thank Wrangell Mountain Air for flying to the site and providing information on the exact location of the aircraft for future salvage purposes.
This is the fourth aircraft accident that has occurred in the park this year. Fortunately, the individuals involved in these incidents have walked away with only minor injuries. The NPS encourages visitors utilizing remote airstrips to be cautious and use good judgement when attempting landings and takeoffs to avoid serious consequences. For more information about 'off airport' best practices see: Off Airport Ops Guide (faasafety.gov).
Last updated: September 6, 2022