Pilot dies in Thursday afternoon plane crash near Ketchikan

The pilot and sole occupant of a small private plane died Thursday afternoon when the aircraft crashed on the south end of Gravina Island near Blank Inlet.

According to the Ketchikan Gateway Borough, the name of the pilot will not be released until next of kin have been notified.

Coast Guard spokeswoman Amanda Norcross says the plane was reported overdue by Ketchikan Airport Flight Service at 3:04 p.m. The last communication with the plane was around 2:30 p.m. The plane was near Blank Inlet at that time.

The Coast Guard sent out small boats from Station Ketchikan, and a search and rescue helicopter from Air Station Sitka. Ketchikan Volunteer Rescue Squad crews were mobilized, and the volunteer rescue squad found the crashed plane.

Alaska State Troopers coordinated the search efforts.

According to the borough news release, the National Transportation Safety Board will travel to Ketchikan Friday to start an investigation.

This was the fourth plane crash in the Ketchikan area this summer.

Gravina Island near Ketchikan in August 2009, with Pennock Island on the left. (Creative Commons photo by Wknight94)

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