Plane with bodies of Air Force colonel and flight instructor recovered from Kenai Peninsula lake

Update 6:30 a.m. Friday:

The floatplane that crashed into a lake near Moose Pass on Tuesday, killing a U.S. Air Force colonel assigned to the Alaskan Command and a Utah flight instructor, was recovered Thursday, Alaska State Troopers said in an online dispatch late Thursday.

The plane was found at a depth of almost 200 feet in Crescent Lake, troopers said.

“With the use of divers and a (remotely operated vehicle), the crew was able to float the plane and tow it to shore. Both Paul Kondrat and Mark Sletten were found inside of the plane deceased,” troopers said.

The original Thursday story appears below. Check back for updates.

Recovery efforts continued Thursday after a floatplane crashed into a lake near Moose Pass on Tuesday, presumably killing a U.S. Air Force colonel assigned to the Alaskan Command and a Utah flight instructor.

A crew worked at Crescent Lake on Thursday to locate Anchorage Mark “Tyson” Sletten, Utah’s Paul Kondrat and the float-equipped Piper PA-18 Super Cub, said Austin McDaniel, a spokesman for the Alaska State Troopers.


“A team from the Alaska Rescue Coordination Center that includes professional volunteers from the Alaska Dive, Search, Rescue, and Recovery Team are searching at the lake today,” McDaniel said. “The team is using sonar, remotely operated vehicles (ROV), and trained divers to search areas of interest that were identified by yesterday’s search.”

The lake is over 200 feet deep in some areas, according to McDaniel.

Sletten, 46, was the director of operations at Alaskan Command, the agency said in a statement. The Alaskan Command, which is headquartered at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, conducts homeland defense, civil support, mission assurance and security cooperation, according to the base’s website. Online reports indicate Sletten was a fighter pilot who’d previously served as the Air Force’s 8th Fighter Squadron commander in New Mexico.

Two hikers witnessed the crash and reported it to troopers just after 2:10 p.m., the agency said. Authorities said they responded to area Tuesday with a helicopter and floatplane and saw debris in the lake, but noted no signs of survivors.

A plane that had departed from Moose Pass was reported overdue, McDaniel said. The instructional flight had been expected to return to Moose Pass, he said.

The plane was operated by Alaska Float Ratings, which has common ownership with Scenic Mountain Air, according to Clint Johnson, chief of the National Transportation Safety Board Alaska office. Kondrat, 41, was a certified flight instructor at Alaska Float Ratings, according to his LinkedIn page.

The NTSB will investigate the crash.

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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.