Pilot walks away from crash southeast of Cordova

Casey Grove

A pilot suffered minor injuries when his small plane crashed Wednesday afternoon near the mouth of the Bering River, about 60 miles southeast of Cordova, according to the Alaska Air National Guard.

Guard rescuers in a helicopter reached the downed plane and its pilot a little more than two hours after the crash and flew him to Anchorage, Guard spokesman Maj. Guy Hayes said. Hayes did not publicly identify the injured man.

The pilot made two distress calls -- one by radio, the other on a transponder -- about 3:45 p.m. Wednesday while the Piper PA-18 Super Cub was still aloft, Hayes said. An HC-130 King airplane and an HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopter launched from Anchorage, with the plane reaching the pilot's position first, about 5:50 p.m., Hayes said.

The HC-130's crew dropped a package with a radio to the pilot, and the rescuers were able to talk to the man, Hayes said.

"They were able to talk to pilot and let him know they were coming to get him. It sounded like he had pretty minor injuries," Hayes said.

The HH-60 arrived a short time later, picked up the pilot, and flew him to Anchorage, Hayes said. The calls for distress, and the transponder alert that pinpointed the downed plane's location, made for a speedy rescue, Hayes said.

"They didn't have to search for him," Hayes said. "For a plane crash, this couldn't have turned out any better than it did."

Reach Casey Grove at casey.grove@adn.com or 257-4589.