Fairbanks wilderness guide killed in floatplane crash

(Creative Commons photo by Matt’ Johnson)
(Creative Commons photo by Matt Johnson)

Alaska State Troopers say a 75-year-old Fairbanks wilderness guide died Wednesday after his floatplane flipped while taxiing on water.

Troopers got report of the incident at the Chena Marina Airstrip in west Fairbanks at about 4 p.m. Wednesday. According to troopers, witnesses reported seeing the plane flip over forward while taxiing at a slow speed.

Jerald Stansel, the pilot and sole occupant, was extricated from the submerged plane but died at a local hospital.

Clint Johnson, the National Transportation Safety Board’s Alaska chief, says preliminary information indicates the Cessna 185 had made an aborted takeoff run, and was taxiing to try taking off again.

“That’s when the airplane became inverted,” Johnson said. “And unfortunately, it sounds like the pilot was trapped inside the partially submerged airplane.”

Stansel had put his guiding business, Alaska Fish and Trails Unlimited, up for sale last year. He told the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner at the time that he was looking forward to spending more time with his family.

Johnson says an NTSB investigator traveled to Fairbanks Thursday morning to speak with witnesses.

Troopers say Stansel’s family has been notified.

Chris Klint is a web producer and breaking news reporter at Alaska Public Media. Reach him at cklint@alaskapublic.org. Read more about Chris here.

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