Big Lake pilot killed in small plane crash southeast of McGrath

The pilot of a small plane was killed and a passenger injured when their small plane crashed near a remote runway southeast of McGrath, according to the Alaska State Troopers.

The passenger, Traeger Anderson, 30, of Wasilla, identified the pilot as Scott Mueller, 58, of Big Lake, said troopers spokeswoman Beth Ipsen. Positive identification will be done by the state Medical Examiner, she said.

Anderson was treated for minor injuries, she said.

Troopers were notified shortly before 9 p.m. Friday that a plane had crashed and burned on takeoff from the Tatitna airstrip, Ipsen said.

The strip is west of Rainy Pass, and about 70 miles southeast of McGrath. It's near the Rohn Roadhouse, a checkpoint in the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.

Troopers were told the wreckage was about 1,000 feet past the end of airstrip, Ipsen said. The plane was a Super Cub, she said.

On Saturday afternoon, a trooper from Aniak was able to fly to the crash site with a pilot from McGrath and recover Mueller's remains, Ipsen said.

Clint Johnson, an investigator with the NTSB, said details were sketchy at this point and that the agency was trying to get an investigator to the scene.

It was the third fatal plane crash in Alaska in the past week.

Last Saturday, a pilot and passenger were killed at Anchorage's Merrill Field when their small plane crashed. Air-traffic controllers had instructed the pilot to do a "go around" when the plane was coming in for a landing, and the plane crashed as it was climbing, the NTSB said.

Two Palmer men were killed later in the week when their plane crashed near Sutton. Johnson, the NTSB investigator, said he reached the site on that crash by helicopter on Saturday. The aircraft was nose-down in a stand of alders on a hillside, he said. The plan is to move the plane so it can be examined more closely, he said.

Anchorage Daily News /