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CORDOVA, ALASKA-At approximately 2:45 Tuesday afternoon, an Alaska Wildlife trooper flying a routine patrol near the mouth of the Seal River observed aircraft wreckage washing up on the beach. After landing to investigate, it was identified as a PA-18-150 Piper Supercub, it appeared that it had recently crashed and there were no occupants aboard.
Further investigation would find that the owner/operator Richard Stoltzfus of Cordova and John Dick of Oklahoma were aboard the aircraft when it crashed.
Stoltzfus and Dick were part of a five person group spending time at a cabin about 25 miles from where the incident occurred. Apparently, the two had flown to the mouth of the Seal River in order to collect iceberg ice chunks to fill their cooler. Observations made at the on-scene investigation have led investigators to believe that the crash occurred shortly after take-off.
The crash, and damage by ice after, as it drifted ashore damaged the aircraft extensively. Searches for the victims of the crash have been unsuccessful and they are believed to be deceased. Next of kin has been notified.
If the deaths of Stoltzfus and Dick are confirmed, this will bring the toll of aircraft related deaths to 17 for this year. This is two short of the total of aircraft related deaths for the entire year of 2010. 2010 was the deadliest year in a decade for aircraft fatalities in the state.