6 killed in Alaska sightseeing plane crash identified

A green mountainside with a mountain lake visible
View of Misty Fjords National Monument from a floatplane on Aug. 1. (Molly Lubbers/KRBD).

Six people killed in a sightseeing plane crash were recovered and identified after crews initially struggled to reach the wreckage in southeast Alaska due to poor weather conditions.

Alaska State Troopers identified the pilot and five passengers late Saturday following the crash Thursday. The aircraft went down as the pilot was returning the passengers to Ketchikan from Misty Fjords National Monument.

RELATED: Coast Guard rescues 2 from second Misty Fjords floatplane crash

The passengers were Mark Henderson, 69, and Jacquelyn Komplin, 60, both of Napa, California; Andrea McArthur, 55, and Rachel McArthur, 20, both of Woodstock, Georgia; and Janet Kroll, 77, of Mount Prospect, Illinois. The pilot was Rolf Lanzendorfer, 64, of Cle Elum, Washington.

All five passengers were on an excursion off the Holland America Line cruise ship Nieuw Amsterdam. Ketchikan is a popular stop for cruise ships visiting Alaska, and cruise ship passengers take sightseeing excursions in port.

[Sign up for Alaska Public Media’s daily newsletter to get our top stories delivered to your inbox.]

Popular among them are small plane flights to Misty Fjords National Monument, where visitors can see glacier valleys, snow-capped peaks and lakes in the wilderness area.

The plane’s emergency beacon was activated about 11:20 a.m. Thursday when it crashed near the monument, the U.S. Coast Guard said.

A helicopter company reported seeing wreckage on a ridge line in the search area. Coast Guard crew members found the wreckage around 2:40 p.m. A Coast Guard helicopter lowered two rescuers to the site, and they reported no survivors, the agency said.

RELATED: Six dead after flightseeing plane crash near Ketchikan, weather hampering recovery

Poor weather and deteriorating visibility hampered early efforts to recover the bodies. Alaska State Troopers and members of the Ketchikan Volunteer Rescue Squad made it to the crash site Saturday afternoon via a chartered Temsco helicopter.

The bodies of the six people who died will be taken to the State Medical Examiner’s Office in Anchorage, the troopers said.

The National Transportation Safety Board will investigate the cause of the crash. The Federal Aviation Administration is also investigating.

Previous articleAnchorage health director resigns
Next articleAlaska WWAMI medical students face large tuition increase due to funding dispute
Copyright 2013 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.