Young pilot suffers minor injuries in Knik River crash

Kyle Hopkins

A 16-year-old pilot suffered minor injuries when a Piper Super Cub crashed on takeoff Sunday afternoon near the Knik Glacier, authorities say.

The accident was reported to Alaska State Troopers at 5:47 p.m., said trooper spokeswoman Megan Peters. No one else was in single-engine plane, troopers said.

The plane was attempting to take off from a Knik River sand bar when it crashed, Peters said.

Larry Lewis, an investigator for the National Transportation Safety Board, said he's spoken to the owner of the plane but not the young pilot. "It was just a personal flight, they were landing on sand bars near the Knik Glacier. ... There's probably half a dozen aircraft up there on the weekend."

The Super Cub sustained "substantial damage," Lewis said. A helicopter will be used to recover the aircraft today.

Lewis declined to identify the pilot. Pilots can earn their certification to fly as young as age 16, he said.

A second pilot flew the boy to the Palmer municipal airport, where medics took him to Mat-Su Regional Medical Center, Peters said. The spokeswoman did not know the nature of the pilot's injuries, which were described as "minor" by the FAA.

Lewis, the NTSB investigator, said he does not know if the pilot was ever actually admitted to the hospital.

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