UPDATE: Troopers report that the crashsite was accessed on Sunday and all bodies were recovered and sent to the State Medical Examiner’s office in Anchorage for positive identification.
ORIGINAL: The Alaska Mountain Rescue Group is organizing to initiate a ground response into the Jean Lake area west of Cooper Landing on Sunday following reports of an aircraft crash there on Friday evening.
The report of the crash was called into the Soldotna Trooper Dispatch just after 7 pm on Friday evening and RCC dispatched aircraft to the crash site. They were unable to land because of adverse terrain and inclement weather.
On Saturday afternoon the Department of Public Safety Helo-3 flew into the scene with ah NTSB investigator aboard and did an overflight of the site but they too were unable to land.
The aircraft has been identified as a Piper PA31-350 Navajo operated by Security Aviation. Authorities say they do not expect to find any survivors in the incident. The aircraft burned following the crash.
Security Aviation released a statement following the crash, saying “We are devastated to learn the three people aboard our Piper Navajo are believed to have perished Friday near Cooper Landing at approximately 7:15 p.m.,” they wrote. “Our hearts go out to their families, friends, and loved ones. We are working closely with the NTSB, the FAA, and other appropriate agencies as they conduct their investigation. At this time, our priority is assisting the affected families, and our staff. We have voluntarily implemented a safety stand-down, suspending all operations until further notice. We are grateful for the first responders and volunteers assisting in the response, and will provide more information at the appropriate time.”