Two airlifted and hospitalized after plane crash north of Kotzebue

Michelle Theriault Boots

Two men were being treated at an Anchorage hospital Sunday for injuries from a plane crash northwest of Kotzebue on Friday.

Cecil Taylor, 68, of Soldotna and Dan Beard, 61, of Florida were in a Cessna U206F that went down on a hillside northwest of Kotzebue in Northwest Alaska, according to the Alaska State Troopers.

"The aircraft was traveling south toward Kotzebue when it struck the mountain," according to an e-mail from trooper spokeswoman Megan Peters Sunday.

It was about 24 miles northwest of Kotzebue when it crashed, Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Allen Kenitzer said Sunday.

The injured men were taken by helicopter to Kotzebue, troopers said. They were stabilized and then airlifted to Anchorage's Providence Alaska Medical Center, where they were both listed as patients Sunday.

More than one aviator flying in the area reported hearing a mayday call over the radio, said Lt. Bernie Kale of the Alaska National Guard. Another caller reported a crashed airplane north of town.

An Alaska Air National Guard Black Hawk helicopter out of Nome was dispatched, Kale said. It stopped in Kotzebue to pick up medical personnel from the local clinic.

When the helicopter carrying medical help reached the crash scene good Samaritans were already on the ground "dismantling" the mangled airplane to get to the injured passengers, Kale said.

FAA spokesman Kenitzer initially reported that three people were onboard the plane. But troopers on Sunday said there were just two occupants, Taylor and Beard.

It's not yet known what caused the crash, said Clint Johnson of the National Transportation Safety Board Sunday.

Reach Michelle Theriault Boots at or 257-4344.