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North Slope plane crash victims identified

By KTVA CBS 11 News 3:33 PM August 25, 2014

Authorities are investigating why a plane went down in northern Alaska near Atigun Pass Sunday afternoon.

The National Transportation Safety Board says the low-wing, single-engine plane operated by Kirst Aviation crashed near Mile 243.5 of the Dalton Highway. The pilot, 57-year-old Forest Kirst of Fairbanks, and Canadian passengers 66-year-old Darrell Spencer, 57-year-old Daphne McCann and 65-year-old Marcene Nason, survived the crash, said D.J. Fauske with the North Slope Borough. One person suffered a serious head injury, the borough spokesperson said.

The four-seat private aircraft took off from Fairbanks and was bound for Bettles, Deadhorse and Barter Island before heading back to Fairbanks as part of a sight-seeing tour, said Todd Gunther with the NTSB.

Alyeska Pipeline employees from a pump station reported the crash to Alaska State Troopers around 1:45 p.m. and also contacted medics, said AST spokeswoman Beth Ipsen. The injured people were brought to an airstrip so they could be airlifted to a hospital.

The condition and identities of the victims was not released Monday afternoon, but Gunther said they are not Alyeska employees. The Federal Aviation Administration will examine the wreckage, which is about 450 feet from the top of the pass.

It will be about seven to 10 days before a preliminary report is issued, the NTSB said.

–This is a developing story.

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