NTSB asks public for help in Lake Clark Pass crash investigation
The National Transportation Safety Board is asking for help from people who were in the vicinity of last week’s fatal crash near Lake Clark Pass, on what weather reports from the area indicate was a cloudy day.
A preliminary report on the Thursday Cessna 206 crash that killed Regal Air pilot Joel Black, 22, was released Wednesday by the NTSB. According to the report, Black had been flying a load of about 330 pounds of lumber and insulation to the Kautumn Lodge near Koliganek; he took off from Anchorage’s Lake Hood at about 8 a.m., crashing about 12 miles northeast of Port Alsworth nearly 90 minutes later.
The 11th Air Force’s Rescue Coordination Center in Anchorage received an emergency locator transmitter signal from the aircraft at 9:24 a.m. Searchers found the burning Cessna in a wooded section of the Miller Creek drainage shortly after noon; Black had died at the scene.
“The airplane wreckage aft of the firewall, extending outboard to both wing roots, and extending to the mid-empennage area was incinerated by a fire,” NTSB officials wrote.
A weather report from Port Alsworth at 6:50 a.m. on the day of the crash included calm winds, but few clouds at 300 feet intensifying to a broken ceiling at 1,500 feet. By 9:58 a.m., a broken ceiling at 500 feet was overcast at 2,000 feet; a remark in the second report indicated “estimate pass closed.”
Clint Johnson, the NTSB’s Alaska chief, said Wednesday that the aircraft’s wreckage has yet to be recovered. It will be examined in Anchorage or Wasilla after it is brought in from the field.
In the meantime, as NTSB meteorologists in Washington, D.C. examine weather patterns in the area, Johnson said investigators are hoping to hear from anyone who was flying or on the ground in the general vicinity Thursday morning.
“We would love to talk with these folks to get a better idea of what the weather conditions were at the accident site at the time of the crash,” Johnson said. “If by chance there was some guy in this area, anybody who talked to this guy air-to-air -- we’re looking for anything we can get.”
Anyone who was in the Lake Clark Pass area at the time of the crash is asked to call the NTSB’s Anchorage office at 907-782-4848.