Update: Pilot in fatal plane crash identified

Update 4 p.m.

Alaska State Troopers have identified the pilot in yesterday’s fatal plane crash near Juneau.

He’s 56-year-old Kevin Murray from Washington state. He was the only person aboard the Air Excursions Piper Cherokee when it went down yesterday morning near Point Howard, 23 miles west of Juneau.

Trooper Tim Birt says low clouds and rain prevented a recovery mission on Friday, so crews will try again on Saturday.

The National Transportation Safety Board will investigate the cause of the crash.

Air Excursions Operations Director Mike Loverink released a written statement, saying the company is “deeply saddened by the news.” Loverink also thanked all of those who searched for Murray on Thursday.

The plane left Juneau Airport about 8:20 yesterday morning, and was due into Gustavus at 8:55. Murray last made contact with flight service around 8:47.

An aerial search by the Coast Guard and Coastal Helicopters launched about 9:15. The Coastal crew spotted the wrecked plane at 3 o’ clock in the afternoon. A team from Juneau Mountain Rescue was dropped near the crash site and found Murray’s body around 4:30 p.m.

Update 1 p.m.

Air Excursions Director of Operations Mike Loverink has released a statement. It reads:

“Air Excursions is deeply saddened by the news of the death of our pilot,
co-worker and friend Kevin Murray. Our thoughts and prayers are
with his family at this time.

We will assist the National Transportation Safety Board in any and all
ways to determine the facts surrounding this incident. Safety is,
and will always be, our number one concern.

We want to thank all those involved in the initial search for Kevin,
including Coastal Helicopters, the Coast Guard, the Alaska State Troopers,
the employees at Air Excursions and the many friends in the Juneau
aviation community that were there for us when we needed you.
Your support is deeply appreciated.”

Original story, 10:15 a.m.

Alaska State Troopers have identified the pilot who died in yesterday’s plane crash near Juneau.

He’s 56-year-old Kevin Murray from Washington state. Family has been notified, and Trooper Tim Birt says crews will attempt to recover the body and plane this afternoon, if the weather improves.

Murray was the only person on board the Piper Cherokee owned by Air Excursions when it went down at about 8:50 yesterday morning near Point Howard, 23 miles west of Juneau.

He had been due into Gustavus at 8:55 and last made contact around 8:47.

An aerial search by the Coast Guard and Coastal Helicopters launched about 9:15 yesterday morning. The Coastal crew spotted the wrecked plane about 3 o’ clock in the afternoon. A team from Juneau Mountain Rescue was dropped near the crash site and found Murray’s body around 4:30 p.m.

The National Transportation Safety Board will investigate the cause of the crash.

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