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MCGRATH, ALASKA-Pilot James "Ken" Richardson, 66, of McGrath was returning to McGrath after dropping off two hunters in the Alaska Range on Sunday when, coming in for a landing, he lost power and crashed into the Tundra. The crash occurred at 3:15 pm. His Supercub flipped on impact, leaving him suspended upside down in the aircraft.
Richardson, a pilot for over 40 years, had over 22,000 flight hours in. He is a former guide and game warden. He currently works as a pilot for the United States Fish and Wildlife Service.
The Kuskokwim Valley Rescue Squad heard about the crash at 3:35 pm according to the squad leader Steve Kovach. Another member of the squad, who is married to the airport manager in McGrath also heard that a plane was down across the river.
Rescuers crossed the river and scrambled to the scene, aided by an aircraft flying the crash site overhead. They were to the downed pilot within a half an hour of the crash. A rescuer crawled inside the cockpit and stabilized Richardson, who had sustained a broken neck in the crash. He was removed from the cockpit and carried by stretcher 20 minutes to the riverbank. From there he was ferried across the river to McGrath.
Nancy Richardson, the pilot’s wife stated, “He said he throttled back … and all the sudden he lost power and down he went.”
A nursing supervisor at the Alaska regional Hospital in Anchorage says that after a day-long surgery, Richardson is in stable condition in the intensive care facilities there.
Of Richardson’s injuries, his wife Nancy stated, “I don’t think he can move his legs or anything at this point but he can feel them.”