Yukon coroner identifies 2 killed in Whitehorse plane crash

Two Alaska men flying to Palmer, Alaska, from Minnesota have been identified as those killed in a plane crash Thursday evening in Whitehorse, Yukon's chief coroner has confirmed.

Alaska men were flying to Palmer, Alaska, from Minnesota

Crews make their way to the scene of a downed airplane near the Whitehorse airport Monday. (Alexandra Byers/CBC)

Yukon's coroner has released the names of two men killed in a plane crash in Whitehorse Monday.

In a news release, Chief Coroner Heather Jones said Charles Eric Benson, 56, of Palmer, Alaska, and Jeffrey Brian Babcock, 58, of Wasilla, Alaska died when the 1952 Cessna 170B they were flying crashed shortly after takeoff from the Whitehorse airport. The plane was registered in Benson's name.

Jones said the two men bought the aircraft in Minnesota May 25 and were headed for Palmer, Alaska. The men arrived in Whitehorse Monday afternoon from Watson Lake, and took off for Anchorage less than 90 minutes later.

Jones said the two men were confirmed dead at the scene.

She added the coroner's office is still investigating the crash alongside the Transportation Safety Board and the Yukon RCMP.

Gerrit Vermeer, the Transportation Safety Board's lead investigator into the crash said two other investigators are in Whitehorse to document the crash site. The investigators are taking photos, measurements and wreckage back to the TSB facility in Edmonton.

Vermeer said it's too early to say what caused the crash but he cautioned not to make too much of the fact the plane was built in 1952.

"Age in aircraft really isn't relevant like it is in automobiles because of the strict standards aircraft are maintained to," he said.