ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) – An Alaska State Trooper helicopter carrying a trooper, a pilot for the agency and a rescued snowmobiler crashed in the south-central part of the state, leaving all three aboard feared dead, a spokeswoman said Sunday night.
Trooper spokeswoman Megan Peters said the aircraft went down Saturday night, the wreckage spotted Sunday, and no survivors have been found.
Peters said that though the three are feared dead, there still has been no confirmation of any fatalities.
“This is a huge, profound tragedy for us. We can replace the helicopter but we can’t replace what went down with it,” she said. “It’s been a bad day.”
Wreckage of the helicopter burned, but Peters said it was not known how the fire started or how long it lasted.
The trooper helicopter was on a mission to pick up a snowmobiler stranded near Larson Lake 7 miles east of Talkeetna in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough.
The helicopter picked up a trooper and began a search, spotting the snowmobile and landing just before 10 p.m. It took off with the snowmobiler and was supposed to meet medics near Talkeetna but did not arrive.
The National Weather Service said the temperature in Talkeetna Sunday night was 34 with light rain that turned into snow at about 11 p.m., but that visibility was 10 miles.
Peters said it’s not known if weather was a factor in the crash. The National Transportation Safety Board will investigate.
Alaska Air National Guard helicopter spokeswoman Kalei Rupp said fog in Anchorage and mandatory crew rest kept an agency helicopter from launching until 5 a.m.
A guard helicopter spotted the wreckage at 9:20 a.m. Sunday and landed.
Talkeetna is a community of nearly 900 about 80 miles north of Anchorage. It’s the primary departure point for air taxis taking climbers to Mount McKinley.
The crash site was near the south end of Larson Lake.
The Alaska State Troopers have had at least one officer die in a helicopter crash during a search and rescue mission.
Trooper John David Stimson was on a chartered helicopter in 1983 that was attempting to reach a downed pilot in a blizzard. The chartered helicopter crashed near Cordova.
Stimson survived and assisted pilot Gary Wiltrout, who had suffered a broken back. However, when rescuers reached the crash site after 24 hours, the 11-year trooper had died of exposure. Wiltrout survived.
AP writer Bob Seavey in Phoenix contributed to this story.
(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
- 6 energy saving hacks for your home
- 5 tips for choosing a company to end your timeshare
- Water tips to save money, help save the Earth
- 5 of the most adored gentlemen in professional sports today
- The real danger of sitting at your desk
- Most surprising NBA playoff performances of the last 40 years
- 11 classic baseball movies you must see again
- Finally getting rid of fat: 3 methods that actually work
- 4 reasons cancer survivors should focus on food
- 5 spring cleaning spots everyone forgets
- 5 reasons to look forward to watching the D-backs this season
- Common virus attributed to spike in head and neck cancers
- 5 signs it’s time to end your timeshare ownership
- 3 most overlooked ways to keep your home healthy
- 6 ways the air in your home could be making you sick
- CrossFit dangers: 5 common injuries and how to deal with them
- Today's radiation treatments offer better success, fewer side effects
- Tips to make watching TV on the patio even better
- What really happens when you donate to a community college?
- Sun and skin cancer: Separating fact from fiction
- 5 critical lifestyle changes for a healthy colon
- What you need to know about Alzheimer's disease in Arizona
- Spring clean your windows like a pro with these 8 tips
- 7 films that should have won best-picture Oscars
- New plumbing technology saves money and improves your home
- Survey shows Arizona CFOs optimistic about 2016
- How chronic pain can affect your love life
- 5 potential warning signs about your child's development