Coast Guard recovers plane, 2 bodies near Sitka
The U.S. Coast Guard says they've recovered the bodies of two men who were aboard a floatplane that was reported overdue this weekend.
The float plane was reported as overdue Saturday, prompting a search by the Coast Guard.
The downed PA-18 Super Cub floatplane was found in the Katlian River, just beyond the mouth of Katlian Bay just before 10 p.m. Sunday.
A Cutter Bailey Barco small boat and crew removed one body from the wreckage; the body of a second man was found further down the river on Monday.
Both bodies were transferred to the Sitka Police Department and the Alaska State Troopers, the Coast Guard says.
The floatplane took off at 7:15 p.m. Saturday for a 30-minute trip to check out mountain goats near Katlian Bay, just north of Sitka, but they never returned, said Lt. j.g. Collin McClelland, a Sector Juneau watchstander.
McClelland said the search was challenging because the plane's emergency locator transmitter (ELT) never went off.
The weather was reportedly seven-mph winds and five miles of visibility.
Troopers identified the victims as 45-year-old pilot Stonie Huffman, of Sitka, and 66-year-old James Ronge, of California.
AST and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the circumstances surrounding the incident.
Civil Air Patrol, the Alaska Air National Guard, the U.S. Forest Service, the U.S. Air Force, Sitka Police and Fire and Sitka Mountain Rescue all participated in the search.
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