Alaska State Troopers are reporting a plane crash near Aniak that possibly killed two people aboard a PA-11 Piper.
Troopers based in Aniak were notified of the plane crash at Marvel Dome at 1:25 p.m. on Friday, according to a dispatch posted online. Marvel Dome is located about 4-5 miles from the Marvel Creek strip mine, troopers said.
A red and white PA-11 with two people aboard was reported to have departed the Yukon-Kuskokwim community Thursday around 2 p.m., according to the dispatch. The plane was headed toward the Marvel Creek area.
"As the plane failed to return, family members flew out today to search. They located a crash site on the southeast side of Marvel Dome" at about 2,000 feet, the dispatch says.
National Transportation Safety Board Investigator Shaun Williams said there is little known about the crash and the area.
"It's the very early stages," Williams said Friday evening.
The family members told troopers the plane had been destroyed and the people on board were believed dead. "There were no signs of life," the dispatch says.
But nothing has been confirmed, Williams said. Troopers tried to reach the site of the crash but turned back after weather conditions deteriorated. Williams said there is low visibility in the area. The National Weather Service forecast shows clouds with scattered snow showers in Aniak.
Troopers and Williams will try and reach the crash site Saturday, but their attempt depends on the weather.
Williams said he is still learning about the route the plane flew and the terrain in the area.
When the NTSB investigator reaches the scene, the first step is documenting the wreckage, how the plane impacted the ground and how it came to rest, he said. Evidence could be compromised due to weather – avionics, cellphones and GPS devices – will be removed from the scene, Williams said.
"We'll go through with a fine-toothed comb and try and figure out what happened," he said.