Pilot killed, passenger injured in Mat-Su plane crash

Zaz Hollander

One person was killed and another injured after a small plane carrying two people crashed near Beaver Lakes in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough on Monday, Alaska State Troopers said.

The crash was reported by the survivor at about 1 p.m., troopers spokeswoman Megan Peters said.

The pilot died in the crash, which was off-road in the area of Horseshoe Lake and couldn't be reached by Mat-Su rescue personnel, according to West Lakes District Chief Bill Gamble. Troopers identified the pilot as 66-year-old Kenneth Whedbee of Big Lake.

A crew from LifeMed Alaska responded with a helicopter and reached the scene first, Gamble said. The Rescue Coordination Center had to send an Alaska Army National Guard Black Hawk helicopter to extricate the crash victims, Gamble said. The passenger was flown for medical treatment to Anchorage, he said.

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the accident.

The fatal crash marks the latest in a year marred by numerous aviation deaths. Six people died in four separate plane crashes since late August alone.

This year's fatalities due to aviation accidents are the most since 2003, according to the Federal Aviation Administration. But the total number of crashes is on track to be lower than usual, federal statistics show.