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Aviation

Teams recover remains of four killed in plane crash near Girdwood

The site of a plane crash on Goat Mountain near Eagle Glacier is identified by a plume of smoke, seen from Girdwood, Aug. 4, 2019. (Photo by Chris Hummel)

Update, 11 a.m. Wednesday: The bodies of all four victims of Sunday’s plane crash at Goat Mountain were recovered Tuesday evening, Alaska State Troopers say.

Troopers and members of the Alaska Mountain Rescue Group recovered the bodies, which were transported to the State Medical Examiner’s Office for positive identification.

Original story: Recovery efforts began Tuesday after four people died Sunday in the crash of a private plane in the mountains near Girdwood.

Authorities on Tuesday were still working to identify the four people killed in the Sunday afternoon crash of the Piper PA-22 on Goat Mountain near Eagle Glacier, at about 5,000 feet altitude in the Chugach Mountains. The plane crashed after taking off from the airport in Girdwood.

The plane was registered to Karl Erickson, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

Erickson held a student pilot certification issued in 2017, FAA records say. The certificate prohibited him from carrying passengers. Federal regulations restrict student pilots from serving as the “pilot in charge” if there are passengers in the plane.

Authorities have not confirmed that he was the pilot.

An employer, Beacon Occupational Health and Safety Services in Anchorage, released a statement Monday calling the longtime Girdwood resident a “valuable part of the Beacon family” who worked throughout Alaska on safety and rescue projects, according to a report by KTUU.

Alaska State Troopers had yet to officially identify the pilot or three passengers in the plane as of Tuesday.

A troopers helicopter crew, with help from the Alaska Mountain Rescue Group, began the recovery process at the crash scene on Tuesday, troopers spokesman Ken Marsh said. Witnesses described the area as difficult to reach.

The names of the crash victims won’t be officially released until recovery is complete and the State Medical Examiner Office confirms identification, Marsh said.

A National Transportation Safety Board investigator, Brice Banning, was also at the site on Tuesday to begin his analysis into any factors that contributed to the crash.

The plane’s wreckage was incinerated in a post-crash fire, officials said Monday.

This is a developing story and will be updated.

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