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Aviation

Pilot dies in plane crash in Lake Clark National Park

The pilot of a Cessna 206 died Thursday, July 27, 2017, when the plane crashed in Lake Clark National Park and Preserve. (Courtesy Lake Clark National Park and Preserve)

A 22-year-old man died Thursday when the single-engine plane he was piloting crashed in Southwest Alaska, according to authorities.

The pilot, identified as Joel Black of Ohio, was the only person onboard the Cessna 206, according to a statement from Lake Clark National Park and Preserve.

The National Transportation Safety Board said the plane was operated by Regal Air and carrying freight.

It departed from the Lake Hood Seaplane Base in Anchorage and was headed for "a remote landing site in the Bristol Bay area," said Brice Banning, NTSB senior aircraft accident investigator.

Banning said Friday he did not have a more specific destination and did not yet have information on what time the plane left Anchorage.

A woman who answered the phone at Regal Air on Friday morning declined to comment.

Megan Richotte, public information officer with Lake Clark National Park and Preserve, said the plane was reported missing around 9:30 a.m. Thursday, when the Rescue Coordination Center said an emergency locator transmitter had activated inside of the vast national park.

Around 1:45 p.m., park rangers found the plane, downed and burning in the Miller Creek drainage about 12 miles northeast of Port Alsworth.

Richotte described the area of the crash as "a forested valley bottom in mountainous terrain."

Alaska State Troopers and park rangers recovered the pilot's body Thursday night, Richotte said. The body was flown to the medical examiner's office in Anchorage, she said.

Banning said he expected an NTSB investigator to travel to the scene of the crash Friday. He said what caused the crash remained under investigation.

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