• Forecast
  • News Tip
  • Categories
Temperature Precipitation
Estimated read time
2m 18s

NTSB: Plane carrying Port Alsworth family ‘sunk’ in Lake Clark

By Megan Edge 8:25 AM December 20, 2016

The four people onboard a small aircraft traveling from a rural southwest Alaska community, inside of Lake Clark National Park and Preserve, bound for Anchorage remain missing, along with the Piper PA-28-180 airplane they were traveling in. A preliminary report written by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) says the aircraft is believed “to have sunk in the deep waters of Lake Clark.”

Pilot Kyle Longerbeam, 25, as well as Scott Blom, 45, and his children Zach Blom, 13, and Kaitlyn Blom, 14, are presumed dead, although their bodies have not been recovered, according to the report.

Before 10 a.m. on Dec. 7, Longerbeam and the three members of the Blom family left Port Alsworth to watch another family member play in the state high school volleyball tournament in Alaska’s biggest city. But they never made it.

In the report, the NTSB wrote the plane they were traveling in crashed shortly after taking flight.

Another pilot, not identified in the report, told investigators he spoke with Longerbeam “a couple of minutes” after Longerbeam took off. The pilot told Longerbeam the tops of clouds were at about 2,000 feet and that Miller Valley looked open. Longerbeam replied, “Looking good under here, I am going to keep going,” the preliminary report states. That was the last time anyone heard from anyone onboard.

No flight plan was filed, but when the plane failed to arrive at Merrill Field Airport concerned friends and family called the NTSB. In response, the Federal Aviation Administration issued an alert notice.

By 3 p.m., Dec. 7, a massive, multi-organization search was launched, which included personnel from Lake Clark National Park and Preserve, Alaska Air National Guard, Alaska State Troopers, the Civil Air Patrol and private pilots.

The next day personal belongings of those onboard, as well as a co-pilot’s chair and three airplane landing gear assemblies, were recovered from Lake Clark. Nothing else has been recovered, the NTSB said.

The recovery effort was called off on Dec. 12.

“A detailed wreckage and engine examination is pending recovery of the airplane,” the NTSB said.

On the day of the crash, low-lying fog was reported over Lake Clark and the Iliamna Airport — the nearest weather reporting facility, about 32 miles away from Port Alsworth —  reported wind gusts up to 22 knots, as well as overcast skies and 10 mile visibility.

NTSB regional chief Clint Johnson wasn’t sure the plane could be recovered, although he said the agency would keep monitoring the area. According to Johnson, other planes have crashed in the depths of Lake Clark, where water can be 870 feet deep, and have never been recovered.

Megan Edge can be reached by email, on Twitter and Facebook.

Latest Stories

  • News

    Crash temporarily shuts down Seward Hwy overnight

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on May 27, 23:37

    Last updated at 6:15 a.m. on Sunday, May 28 The Seward Highway was completely closed in both directions for about five hours overnight following a crash at mile 76 near Portage Glacier Road. The crash occurred sometime just before 11 p.m. and the road finally reopened to traffic around 4 a.m. Whittier police were first […]

  • News

    Jet owned by Elvis sold for $430,000 at auction

    by Associated Press on May 27, 19:09

    ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) – A private jet once owned by Elvis Presley has been auctioned after sitting on a runway in New Mexico for 35 years. GWS Auctions Inc. says the plane sold for $430,000 on Saturday at a California event featuring celebrity memorabilia. The auction house says Elvis designed the interior that has gold-tone […]

  • Politics

    Judge dismisses lawsuit against Clinton by Benghazi families

    by Associated Press on May 27, 19:02

    WASHINGTON (AP) – A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit against Hillary Clinton filed by the parents of two Americans killed in the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya. U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson in Washington says the former secretary of state didn’t defame the parents when disputing allegations that she had lied. The […]

  • News

    Remains of Arkansas soldier killed in Colony Glacier plane crash returned home

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on May 27, 18:52

    An Arkansas National Guardsman who was killed in plane crash in Alaska 65 years ago has finally made it home. Staff Sgt. Robert Dale Van Fossen was laid to rest Saturday in Little Rock. Arkansas governor Asa Hutchinson ordered flags lowered to half mast in Van Fossen’s honor. His remains were found among the wreckage of […]

  • News

    Historic planes head to Dutch Harbor to mark 75th anniversary of Aleutians battle

    by Dave Leval on May 27, 18:43

    John Pletcher’s invitation is too good to ignore — a chance for myself to get back in the sky for the first time in a while. It takes his JRF-5 Grumman Goose just seconds to take flight at Anchorage’s Merrill Field, then it’s off to Dutch Harbor, to take part in the 75th anniversary of […]

  • News

    NTSB investigating separate fatal crashes near Fairbanks, Haines

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on May 27, 14:46

    Last updated at 10:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 27 Two people are confirmed dead and one is in critical condition following a fatal plane crash near the small Southeast Alaska community of Haines. Alaska State Troopers (AST) confirmed 29-year-old David Kunat of Juneau and an unnamed adult male passenger from California were killed in the crash. Chan Valentine, […]

  • News

    Feds to gain control over Kuskokwim king salmon management

    by Associated Press on May 27, 12:55

    BETHEL, Alaska (AP) – Starting next month, the management of king salmon on a southwestern Alaska river will transfer from state control to federal. KYUK-AM reports that as of June 12, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will begin to oversee the salmon living on lower and middle Kuskokwim River. Under federal law, the switch is […]

  • Lifestyle

    Gregg Allman of The Allman Brothers Band dies at age 69

    by Associated Press on May 27, 11:53

    SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) – A publicist for rock legend Gregg Allman says the organist and singer for The Allman Brothers Band has died. He was 69. Ken Weinstein confirmed Saturday that Allman died at his home in Savannah, Georgia. Allman had cancelled some 2016 tour dates for health reasons. In March 2017, he canceled performances […]