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Alaska plane crash near Big Lake leaves 1 dead

Casey Grove

A small plane crashed in the Big Lake area Monday afternoon, killing one of the two people on board, according to Alaska State Troopers.

Witnesses said the plane, licensed as experimental, crashed after attempting to take off, National Transportation Safety Board Alaska Region Chief Clint Johnson said. The aircraft was later identified by troopers as a "Rotax amateur built airplane." Someone in the plane called for help about 1 p.m. in the vicinity of Blanket Lake, troopers reported. Blanket Lake is about two miles north of Big Lake.

Rescuers in a helicopter took the hurt survivor to a hospital, Alaska State Troopers Spokeswoman Megan Peters said. The injured man’s cousin, Jared Scott, heard about the crash through family and identified the survivor as 37-year-old Jason Scott. Troopers later named the plane’s deceased pilot as 66-year-old Kenneth Whedbee of Big Lake.

“Jason was the only one who could talk, and he was just in excruciating pain,” Jared Scott said.

Jared said his cousin was undergoing surgery after suffering two broken legs, broken ribs and injuries to his lungs and spleen.

The cause of the crash was unclear Monday afternoon, Peters said. A military helicopter and a LifeMed medical transport helicopter were involved in the rescue and body recovery, she said.

Troopers were planning to visit the crash site in their helicopter, Helo-2, Peters said.

An NTSB investigator was also headed to the crashed plane, Johnson said. Neither troopers or the NTSB were releasing the plane’s model or tail number late Monday.

Contact Casey Grove at casey(at)alaskadispatch.com