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K2 plane makes safe landing on Parks Highway with 6 aboard

  • Author: Zaz Hollander
  • Updated: November 1, 2016
  • Published September 1, 2016

A K2 Aviation plane sits on the Parks Highway near Mile 151 on Wednesday evening after the pilot made what K2 representative called a “precautionary landing” on the highway. No one was injured and the plane wasn’t damaged. (Emily Kuske)

A K2 Aviation de Havilland Beaver with six people on board landed safely on the Parks Highway near Byers Lake on Wednesday night, authorities say.

A K2 representative said the pilot made "a precautionary landing" around Mile 151 of the highway, the state's main artery between Anchorage and Fairbanks.

"Everybody's fine," Garett Lawrence, K2's assistant station operations manager, said by phone from the company's Talkeetna headquarters on Thursday morning. "Pretty uneventful."

Lawrence declined to say what prompted the pilot's decision to land.

Alaska State Troopers identified the pilot as 46-year-old Hawaii resident Michael Rushton.

Troopers got word of an "emergency landing on the highway" at about 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, according to spokesperson Megan Peters. The plane landed about 60 miles south of Cantwell.

Troopers didn't close down the highway altogether but traffic was reduced to one lane as vehicles squeezed past the Beaver, Peters said. A trooper at the scene reported a lot of oil on the road from the plane, and said "the pilot did an excellent job landing the plane," she wrote in an email.

K2 towed the plane to the Alaska Veterans Memorial at Mile 147 and sent a van to bring the passengers and pilot back to Talkeetna, Peters said.

  The Federal Aviation Administration is handling any investigation because there were no injuries or damage, according to Clint Johnson, Alaska region chief with the National Transportation Safety Board.

"We're looking into it, but can't say that we are actually investigating anything at this point," FAA spokesman Allen Kenitzer said Thursday.

K2 is a long-established Talkeetna operator that offers Denali flightseeing trips, glacier landings and climber transports.

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