Four dead and another badly injured in two separate Alaska plane crashes

A total of four people died in two Alaska plane crashes Saturday, according to authorities.

Both crashes were reported around 11 a.m., one in Southeast Alaska and the other in the Interior, according to the National Transportation Safety Board.

The Southeast crash occurred about 10 miles southwest of Haines, said Alaska State Troopers. The plane carried three people,  said Clint Johnson, NTSB's Alaska chief. 

A witness observed the twin-engine Piper PA-30 take off from an air strip on Glacier Point and "make a hard right turn to the east before stalling and colliding with the ground," said an Alaska State Trooper dispatch posted online Saturday night.

Johnson said the plane crashed into tidal flats, citing preliminary information.

"We had two deceased at the scene," Johnson said Saturday afternoon.

Troopers identified the pilot killed as 29-year-old David Kunat of Juneau. Troopers said the passenger killed was an adult man from California, but they did not provide his name.


Johnson said the second passenger was in critical condition. Troopers identified that passenger as 31-year-old Chan Valentine of Juneau. Troopers said Valentine was taken to Juneau's Bartlett Regional Hospital.

Haines is about 80 air miles northwest of Juneau.

The cause of the crash was not known Saturday evening, Johnson said.

Ian Gregor, a spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration, said in an email that the plane crashed "under unknown circumstances on a beach."

A second plane in Interior Alaska was reported around 11 a.m. Saturday, Gregor said. Two people were on board the single-engine Arctic Aircraft S-1B2. Both people died in the crash, according to an Alaska State Troopers dispatch.

The plane crashed "under unknown circumstances," near Butte Creek north of the Salcha River, about 60 miles east of Fairbanks, according to Gregor.

Alaska State Troopers along with Alaska Wildlife Troopers responded to the crash site, the trooper dispatch said.

Johnson said he had no additional information on the second crash Saturday evening.

None of the plane's occupants had been identified as of that night.

The NTSB is investigating both crashes.

[Helicopter crash on glacier near Juneau injures 7]

Tegan Hanlon

Tegan Hanlon was a reporter for the Anchorage Daily News between 2013 and 2019. She now reports for Alaska Public Media.