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MCGRATH-At 8:45 on Saturday evening, the Alaska State Troopers received a call from Inland Aviation Services of Aniak, reporting a spot transmission from a location 37 miles west of McGrath. The transmission was suspected as coming from a Cessna 207 that was flying to Anvik from McGrath. The Cessna was piloted by Ernest Chase, age 66, of Aniak. It was reported then that there were five passengers and a pilot aboard that flight.
Attempts were made to reach the site and communicating with the aircraft. Because of weather and terrain, attempts were impossible. But, at 11 o’clock the next morning, the Alaska Air National Guard was able to access the site by Para-Rescue from the 212th Rescue Squadron.
Four survivors were found. Don Evans, his wife, Rosemarie Evans and their children, Donny, age 10 and McKenzie, age 8 were taken to McGrath, where they were transferred to a C-130 which took them to Anchorage. They were treated there at the Providence Hospital for non-life threatening injuries. Don and his wife are school teachers in Anvik.
It was reported that the pilot, Ernest Chase was attempting to turn around and return to McGrath when the aircraft impacted a mountainside.
Alaska State troopers responded to the scene to coordinate efforts to retrieve the bodies of the pilot, Ernest Chase and one passenger, Julia Walker, age 52 of Anvik. Julia Walker was an Iditarod School district school teacher for nine years and a board member of the Alaska Village Electric Cooperative.
Although a full investigation continues, it is believed that weather and terrain were the factor for the crash.