Four dead, one missing after flightseeing plane crashes near Denali

Thunder Mountain (National Park Service photo)

The search for a crashed flightseeing plane in the Alaska Range has been halted after four of the five people on board were confirmed dead with the fifth missing as of Monday morning.

According to the National Park Service, a DeHaviland Beaver that took off shortly after 5:00 pm on Saturday from Talkeetna crashed about an hour later near 11,000 feet of elevation. The plane’s GPS shows that it is on an area unofficially known as Thunder Ridge, fourteen miles southwest of the summit of Denali.

A helicopter with rescue personnel on board was able to reach the crash site on Monday morning. A ranger was suspended below the helicopter and dug through the snow that had filled the airplane. The bodies of four of the five people on board were still inside. The fifth person was not found, and there were no footprints or other disturbances in the snow to indicate that anyone made it out of the aircraft.

The names of the pilot and passengers have not been released. The last confirmed contact with the plane’s pilot occurred about an hour after the crash. Monday morning was the first look that rescue crews got at the crash site.

Editor’s note: In full disclosure, K2 Aviation, the company that operates the crashed plane, is a KTNA underwriter.