Private pilot from Wrangell killed in crash near Ketchikan, troopers say

Alaska State Troopers identified the pilot killed in a plane crash near Ketchikan on Thursday as a 68-year-old Wrangell attorney.

Michael Nash was on a private flight and was the only person in the wheeled Piper PA-24 Comanche when it crashed at about 400 feet on the north side of Judy Hill, troopers said late Thursday. The mountain is on the eastern side of Gravina Island near Blank Inlet.

Ketchikan Flight Service notified troopers of an overdue aircraft just after 3 p.m. Thursday. Nash was due to land around 2:15 p.m., troopers said. Aircraft in the area of Judy Hill reported picking up the plane on radar.

The U.S. Coast Guard, Ketchikan Volunteer Rescue Squad, Alaska Wildlife Troopers and Saxman VPSO responded.

The crash marks the fourth in the Ketchikan area this summer, and the third fatal crash.

The plane was registered to Nash’s law office in Wrangell.

Nash held certifications as a commercial pilot and flight instructor, according to the Federal Aviation Administration. He had worked as a commercial pilot and owned an air service, according to a bio on his firm’s website.

Nash also served a priest in Southeast Alaska for almost 25 years. He left the priesthood in 2005 during an investigation into child sex-abuse claims from a former Juneau resident. Nash denied the allegations and was never criminally charged.

Zaz Hollander

Zaz Hollander is a veteran journalist based in the Mat-Su and is currently an ADN local news editor and reporter. She covers breaking news, the Mat-Su region, aviation and general assignments. Contact her at