Plane crash south of Cantwell kills 3

Casey Grove

A small plane crash Friday killed a pilot and two passengers in the Alaska Range south of Cantwell, according to the National Transportation Safety Board.

A state road maintenance worker spotted a fire not far from the Parks Highway in Broad Pass and notified a wildland firefighting crew, which found the flaming plane wreckage about noon, said Clint Johnson, head of the NTSB's Alaska office.

Alaska State Troopers spokeswoman Beth Ipsen described the crash site as near Mile 195 Parks Highway. The plane went down somewhere in the vicinity of Summit Airport, but it was unclear if it had taken off there, if it was approaching to land, or if the airport just happened to be nearby, Johnson said.

An aviation accident investigator reached the crash site later in the day, Johnson said. It was difficult to tell the plane's make and model from the wreckage, but Johnson said it appeared to be a twin-engine Beechcraft Baron BE55.

As of 7 p.m. Friday, troopers had not released the names of the plane's pilot or passengers.

Johnson said an investigator is looking into the cause of the crash, which occurred as the plane was headed south.

"We don't know any of the circumstances at this point," he said.