North

Bodies of 5 people killed in Alaska plane crash recovered

The flight was reported overdue Thursday and was later found crashed, authorities say.

Aircraft went down 19 km south of Tuntutuliak on Thursday

The plane was leaving Bethel, Alaska, on its way to Kipnuk. It crashed 19 kilometres south of Tuntutuliak on Thursday, Alaska State Troopers say. (CBC)

The bodies of a pilot and four passengers killed in a small airplane crash in southwest Alaska have been recovered, state troopers say.

All five people died after a Yute Commuter Service plane leaving Bethel, Alaska, on its way to Kipnuk crashed 19 kilometres south of Tuntutuliak on Thursday, Alaska State Troopers said.

A recovery team found the first body Thursday and the remaining four bodies on Friday, Anchorage Daily News reported.

The recovery team was made up of troopers, volunteers from Tuntutuliak, the Bethel Fire Department and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).

The site of the crash is only accessible by snow machine and air, troopers public information officer Tim DeSpain said. The wreckage is in an area of flat, snow-covered tundra, said Clinton Johnson, chief of the Alaska Regional Office of the NTSB.

The bodies will be sent to the state medical examiner to confirm their identities, troopers said. The department is in the process of notifying next of kin.

The flight was reported overdue Thursday and was later found crashed, authorities said. The Piper PA-32 plane crashed under unknown circumstances, Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Allen Kenitzer said.

The wreckage will likely be taken to Bethel or Anchorage, Johnson said. Safety board investigations of this nature tend to take up to 18 months, he said.

Tuntutuliak is located about 700 kilometres west of Anchorage.

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