Crews search for plane that crashed near Cordova with only pilot aboard

A search was underway Monday for the wreckage of a small plane that crashed Sunday afternoon west of Cordova, according to the National Transportation Safety Board.

The pilot, whose name was not released, took off from Yakutat and was headed for Birchwood Airport north of Anchorage in a Piper PA-32 when the plane crashed in a mountainous area about 5 miles from Cordova around 2:30 p.m., said Clint Johnson, the agency’s Alaska chief.

No passengers were believed to be on the plane.

Johnson said Monday that officials had not yet confirmed the pilot’s death because they have not been able to reach the crash site. A report Monday from the Federal Aviation Administration noted one fatality.

The pilot was in contact with air traffic control, Johnson said, and the NTSB will review those tapes as part of the investigation.

The plane is owned by Nunak Air Taxi, which also operates as Friendship Air. The Bethel-based company operates charter flights, according to its Facebook page. A message left for the business Monday was not immediately returned.

It wasn’t immediately clear if the pilot was conducting business for the company when the crash occurred, Johnson said.

The U.S. Coast Guard and Alaska State Troopers were not able to reach the crash site on Sunday due to dwindling daylight hours, he said. It was unclear if searchers would be able to reach the area quickly due to bad weather.

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 twilliams@adn.com.