Unidentified wreckage found during search for plane last heard from near Gulf of Alaska coastline

Authorities on Tuesday were waiting for weather conditions to improve so they could access the remote site of a crashed airplane found Monday night during the search for an overdue Beechcraft Bonanza last known to be near the Gulf of Alaska.

Officials with Wrangell-St. Elias National Park & Preserve were working with military rescue coordinators and the U.S. Coast Guard on an operation to get to the remote location, identify the wreckage, and determine if there were any survivors, the Alaska State Troopers said Tuesday.

The aircraft’s final communication came about 18 miles inland of Cape Yakataga on Sunday, according to troopers, who were notified around noon that the plane was overdue. The aircraft had left Glennallen around 9 a.m. with a pilot and passenger and was headed to Ketchikan, they said.

The Rescue Coordination Center launched an Alaska Air National Guard HC-130 on Monday morning, but troopers said bad weather limited the search.

The wreckage was found at an elevation of about 5,100 feet in snow-covered mountains roughly 17 miles northwest of Cape Yakataga, Clint Johnson, chief of Alaska’s National Transportation Safety Board office, said Tuesday. The U.S. Coast Guard aircraft that located the wreckage was not able to positively identify it on Monday, troopers said.

An NTSB investigator planned to visit the site with the Alaska Army National Guard as soon as weather allowed, Johnson said.

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.