Crews trying to reach fatal plane crash near Cordova

A U.S. Coast Guard HH60 Jayhawk helicopter flies over Juneau, Alaska, on Saturday, Oct. 2, 2021. (Photo by Mikko Wilson/KTOO)

Rescue crews were attempting Monday to reach a plane that crashed Sunday afternoon in mountains near Cordova. The crash left the pilot dead, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.

Coast Guard spokesman Petty Officer 1st Class Nate Littlejohn said an emergency locator transmitter signal was received from the plane just before 2:30 p.m. Sunday.

An MH-60 Jayhawk rescue helicopter and a C-130 search plane were sent from Air Station Kodiak to the crash site in the Heney Range west of Cordova and arrived about three hours later.

“They discovered wreckage on steep, cliff-like terrain at an elevation of about 1,700 feet,” Littlejohn said. “Crews were not able to lower anyone to the site due to difficult terrain and poor flying conditions with low ceilings, low visibility, rain and mist. The Coast Guard helicopter hovered and searched in the area, but did not find any sign of life.”

Clint Johnson, the National Transportation Safety Board’s Alaska chief, said the plane’s pilot was its sole occupant. Contact with the pilot was lost just before the crash, with no further transmissions received as of Monday afternoon.

Federal Aviation Administration data listed the aircraft as a Piper PA-32 Cherokee operated by Nunak Air Taxi, which does business as Friendship Air. A call to the company wasn’t immediately returned Monday.

Johnson said an NTSB investigator was accompanying Alaska State Troopers and U.S. Coast Guard personnel on Monday’s attempt to reach the crash site.

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