Search underway near Rainy Pass for Wasilla-bound Cessna

A search is underway for a Cessna 172 that was reported overdue Wednesday at the Wasilla Airport, according to an Alaska National Guard spokesman.

The airplane “was operating in the vicinity of Submarine Lake/Rainy Pass,” said David Bedard, public affairs specialist with the Guard’s 176th Wing.

The Cessna left Farewell Airport around 4 or 5 p.m. Wednesday, said Clint Johnson, Alaska chief for the National Transportation Safety Board. He said that was based on “preliminary information.”

That airport is south of Nikolai and west of Denali National Park and Preserve.

The plane "was reported overdue by a concerned party” Wednesday, Allen Kenitzer, a spokesman for the Alaska region of the Federal Aviation Administration, said in an email Thursday afternoon.

The Guard has launched an HC-130 Combat King II aircraft and an HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopter with pararescuemen, Bedard said. The search is in the vicinity of Submarine Lake and Rainy Pass, he said, and it started Thursday morning.

“As far as we know, it’s not associated with the Iditarod,” Bedard said of the Cessna. The Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race started Sunday, and one of the checkpoints is Rainy Pass.

Bedard did not have “a firm number” for how many people were on board.

Annie Zak

Annie Zak was a business reporter for the ADN between 2015 and 2019.