Troopers ID pilot in fatal plane crash off Kachemak Bay

Casey Grove
Alaska State Trooper photo

The pilot and lone occupant of a floatplane that struck power lines across Kachemak Bay from Homer died when the plane crashed, according to Alaska State Troopers.

The man, identified as George Vinderheide, 66, of Girdwood, owned the single-engine 7GCBC Bellanca he was flying Friday afternoon over the Wosmesenski River, said troopers spokeswoman Beth Ipsen. There were clouds only 300 feet off the ground and the weather was rainy and foggy, Ipsen said.

"Conditions were low ceiling, pretty crummy visibility. Apparently, following the path of the river, he hit some power lines and crashed," Ipsen said. "Homer Electric Association, they went out because there was a power outage. When they flew out in a helicopter, they discovered the emergency beacon and found the crash."

The wreckage was in shallow water on the east side of the river, whose mouth is between China Poot and Neptune bays, Ipsen said. The utility workers reported the crash about 3:30 p.m., and the helicopter was used to fly a trooper to the crash site, she said.

Investigators will be looking into the crash, said Clint Johnson with the National Transportation Safety Board.

Reach Casey Grove at or 257-4589.

Anchorage Daily News