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Michigan residents on vacation died in Friday’s fiery plane crash near Seward

  • Author: Zaz Hollander
  • Updated: June 24, 2019
  • Published June 24, 2019

A plane that crashed Friday southeast of Seward was returning from a trip to pick up a couple from Michigan at a remote bay, authorities say.

The passengers killed in the crash of the Helio Courier H-250 plane were 42-year-old Michael John Timmer and 43-year-old Traci Pauline Timmer, both of Hopkins, Michigan, Alaska State Troopers said in an update posted Monday morning.

The pilot, 63-year-old Kem Sibbitt of Fairbanks, also died.

The plane crashed on land and then burst into flames, according to the National Transportation Safety Board. The fire incinerated the wreckage.

Sibbitt took off midafternoon Friday to pick up two people and their gear at Johnstone Bay and bring them back to Seward, NTSB Alaska chief Clint Johnson said. The bay is framed by icefields to the north and Chugach range peaks to the east and west.

The operator of the flight wasn’t immediately clear Monday. Federal investigators were also still trying to establish whether the Timmers hired the pilot for the flight.

The couple was vacationing in Alaska, where they’d recently bought property, according to a Gofundme page established to help their five children.

Troopers said they heard about the crash near Little Johnstone Lake at around 6 p.m. Friday. A commercial helicopter from Seward landed and confirmed there were no survivors.