Plane examined for clues to cause of fatal Anchorage crash

FAIRVIEW: No mayday was heard and flames left very few indications of what happened.

June 2, 2010 

The cause of an airplane crash in Fairview that killed one person and severely injured four remained a mystery on Wednesday, with federal investigators saying there had been no communications from the plane to offer a glimpse into what went wrong.

The Cessna 206 went down with five aboard just after 5 p.m. Tuesday, killing 4-year-old Miles Cavner, who was trapped in the wreckage at Seventh Avenue and Ingra Street when the airplane burst into flames.

His parents, Preston Cavner, 34, and Stacie Cavner, 32, along with another son, Hudson Cavner, 2, were critically injured but survived the crash after passersby pulled them from the wreckage. They were flown to Legacy Emanuel Hospital in Portland, Ore., where they remained in critical condition Wednesday, according to a hospital spokeswoman.

Another woman on board, 16-year-old Rachel Zientak of Texas, was flown to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, where she remained in serious condition, a spokeswoman there said. Police said Zientak was an employee of the Cavners, who operate Stonewood Lodge at Port Alsworth.

The National Transportation Safety Board began an examination of the wreckage in Wasilla on Wednesday and were to be joined by a representative from Cessna today to help with technical expertise on the aircraft, said Clint Johnson, senior air safety investigator for the safety board.

Much of the airplane was incinerated in the fire that broke out after impact, potentially destroying clues about what went wrong.

Investigators were also talking to the many witnesses but had not yet been able to talk to the pilot or his family because of the injuries they sustained, Johnson said.

"Initial indications are from (air traffic control) that there were no mayday calls, but we are going to be reviewing the tapes just to make absolutely sure," Johnson said.

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