Alaska sightseeing plane crash kills 4; 1 missing

The National Park Service says that four people have been killed in the crash of a sightseeing plane, similar to the aircraft seen here, in Alaska’s Denali National Park after the thick clouds hampered rescuers’ response to an emergency call.

(Andrea C. Perry)

Four people in Alaska are dead in the crash of a sightseeing plane carrying Polish tourists in the near North America’s highest mountain, authorities said Monday.

Low clouds and rainy conditions prevented the crew from the spot of the wreck site in Alaska’s Denali National Park to clearing weather Monday, a day and a half after the thick clouds hampered the response to an emergency — call – allowed a helicopter to reach the crash site.

Another person is missing and presumed dead after the crash Saturday night on a ridge about 14 miles southwest of Denali.

After the crash, the pilot reported via satellite phone that passengers were injured, but the connection failed before he could give details.

The aircraft was equipped with sleeping bags, a stove and food, giving hope that survivors would be found, despite the terrain described by the National Park Service as “very steep and a mix of near-vertical rock, ice and snow.”

A park ranger descended by a short-term line at the crash site.

The ranger dug through the snow which was filled with the plane and found the bodies of four people. There were no footsteps or other disturbances in the snow that would have indicated that anyone from the aircraft, the park service said.

The pilot reported on his satellite phone on Saturday, Aug. 4, 2018, that there are a number of injuries but the authorities were not able to retrieve data for the satellite connection is lost. (AP Photo/Becky Bohrer, File)

(Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

The plane is operated by K2 Aviation had taken off a Saturday night with a pilot and four passengers from Poland for a tour of the Kahiltna Glacier, which is the jumping off point for climbers attempting to climb Denali.

It crashed around 6 hours. Saturday in the vicinity of the top of 10,900-foot Thunder Mountain above the glacier and is described by the park service more like a kilometre long ridge than a mountain.

Climbing season on Denali has ended, but flights can still land on the glacier, allowing visitors to walk on the ice field, said park service spokeswoman Katherine e. belcher.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Frank Miles is a journalist and editor, covering sports, tech, military and geopolitical for He can be reached at

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