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Anchorage man dies when floatplane crashes near Yentna River

A 75-year-old Anchorage man died Saturday when his plane crashed near the mouth of the Yentna River in the Valley, Alaska State Troopers and federal aviation officials said.

Pilot Donald Wayne Frantz had flown passengers in his Aeronca 15AC Sedan to a remote cabin on the river around 9:30 or 10 a.m., said Clint Johnson with the National Transportation Safety Board.

Frantz had just taken off alone on a flight back to Anchorage to pick up a second load of passengers when the plane crashed in wooded terrain "very close to the mouth of the Yentna River," and not far from the cabin, Johnson said.

When Frantz didn't return from his flight on time, people at the cabin began searching for him and discovered the wreckage, Johnson said.

Around 1 p.m., members of the Alaska Rescue Coordination Center were called to the site of the crash and found Frantz dead, according to a trooper dispatch Sunday. Troopers and Talkeetna Fire and Rescue also went to the scene and helped transport Frantz's body to Anchorage, troopers said.

The Aeronca is a single-engine plane, Johnson said. Federal Aviation Administration records show the Aeronca owned by Frantz was manufactured in 1949. It was on floats, Johnson said.

Two federal investigators were at the site of the crash Sunday working to determine why the plane crashed, Johnson said.

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