Multiple fatalities after large plane crashes in Alaska

August 2nd, 2010 - 12:47 pm ICT by BNO News  

DENALI NATIONAL PARK, ALASKA (BNO NEWS) — An unknown number of people were killed after a large cargo plane crashed in Denali National Park in Alaska on Sunday afternoon, federal and local officials said.

The large multi-engine cargo aircraft went down at around 3 p.m. local time in the south-facing slope of Mount Healy, within a mile (1.6 kilometer) of the park’s headquarters and approximately 200 yards (182 meters) north of the Denali Park Road.

“The crash started a wildland fire, which is currently contained at approximately one acre,” said Kris Fister, a spokeswoman for the park. “As the fire is still active, a thorough investigation of the scene is not possible until the fire is under control.”

While Fister did not know the specific type of aircraft, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) confirmed it was a cargo plane. Clint Johnston, a spokesman for the agency, said they are “pretty sure” which aircraft went down, but said the agency was still making sure to confirm the information.

Fister said there were “fatalities” as a result of the accident, but said the number and identities were still unknown. “The first personnel arrived on scene within minutes, but the wreckage was already engulfed in flames,” Fister said.

In addition to National Park Service medics and other emergency responders, the Tri-Valley and McKinley Village volunteer fire departments responded with fire engines and an ambulance. The Tanana Zone of the Alaska Fire Service dropped eight smokejumpers into the scene.

“The jumpers and Denali wildland fire fighters are currently putting water on hot spots to fully control and extinguish the fire,” Fister said. “They and [National Park and Preserve] rangers will be on scene overnight.”

The Alaska State Troopers also responded and have assisted with the investigation.

Both the NTSB and FAA have been notified of the accident, and NTSB investigators are expected to arrive at the scene on Monday morning.

As a result of the accident, federal officials have placed a temporary flight restriction (TFR) in effect over the crash site until further notice. “Pilots using the park airstrip or transiting the Windy Pass area are cautioned to check Notices to Aircraft (NOTAMs) and be alert for firefighting and official aircraft,” Fister added.

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