Crews recover three bodies from site of plane crash on Kenai Peninsula

Search-and-rescue crews recovered three bodies Sunday afternoon from the site of a Friday plane crash in mountainous terrain on the northern Kenai Peninsula, according to officials.

The Alaska Mountain Rescue Group, troopers and a National Transportation Safety Board investigator left early Sunday to reach the site by ground. Ken Marsh, a spokesman for the troopers, said the group reached the crash site just before 2 p.m. and recovery efforts were complete around 3 p.m.

The bodies will be transported to the State Medical Examiner Office for identification, according to an online alert issued by troopers.

The plane was headed to Seward Airport, where two Medevac Alaska employees planned to pick up a patient from Providence Seward Medical Center before returning to Anchorage, according to a statement from Security Aviation, which operated the plane.

In a Facebook post late Sunday, Medevac Alaska identified its two employees aboard the plane as Rob Cartner and Maddox Burts.

With the permission of the families and with a heavy heart we can announce that RN Robert Cartner, and MICP Maddox Burts...

Posted by Medevac Alaska on Sunday, December 1, 2019

The plane crashed under unknown circumstances about 15 miles west of Quartz Creek Airport. The twin-engine Piper PA-31 left Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport on Friday around 6:30 p.m., according to the NTSB.

The plane was reported overdue at 7:15 p.m. An aircraft dispatched by the Alaska Rescue Coordination Center flew over the crash Friday night, but troopers wrote in the online alert that weather and terrain prevented a landing at the site. A Department of Public Safety helicopter flew over the scene Saturday afternoon with an NTSB investigator onboard but the helicopter was also unable to land.

Investigators believe the plane burned after crashing at about 1,500 feet elevation.

Tess Williams

Tess Williams is a reporter focusing on breaking news and public safety. Before joining the ADN in 2019, she was a reporter for the Grand Forks Herald in North Dakota. Contact her at