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​Four Confirmed Dead in Denali Sightseeing Plane Crash

The wreckage of the plane is visible near the edge of the serac atop Thunder Mountain near Denali. NPS photo.

According to the Anchorage Daily News, the wreckage of a flightseeing plane was found near Denali after it crashed on Saturday. A National Park Service ranger found four bodies in the wreckage; a fifth person aboard the aircraft was not found but is presumed dead.

The de Havilland Beaver aircraft, operated by K2 Aviation out of Talkeetna crashed on Saturday around 5 P.M. on Thunder Mountain, roughly 14 miles southwest of Denali. Technical terrain and poor weather have prevented any rescue or recovery attempts until today. Immediately following the crash, the pilot made two emergency calls saying he had survived the crash, but communication was lost soon after. The plane was equipped with emergency survival equipment, including a first-aid kit, sleeping bags and cooking supplies.

NPS Ranger Chris Erickson managed to identify the wreckage from a short-haul line on a helicopter and saw no sign of life. According the Erickson, the plane crashed in steep terrain and is in a crevasse on the side of the mountain in an extremely precarious location, making a recovery all but impossible.

The pilot, Craig Layson, had been flying the area for several years. His passengers were tourists from Poland. 

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