Fairbanks Pilot Indicted for Obstruction in 2014 Atigun Pass Crash Investigation

2014 Atigun Pass crash site. Image-FAA
2014 Atigun Pass crash site. Image-FAA

A Fairbanks Pilot was indicted by a federal grand jury in Anchorage on two charges of Obstruction before the National Transportation Board and piloting an aircraft without a valid airman’s certificate, the US Department of Justice announced on Thursday.

According to the DoJ press release, 60-year-old Forest M. Kirst’s indictment stems from an incident that had its beginnings with a fatal crash in Atigun Pass on August 24th, 2014. Three passengers aboard his aircraft suffered serious injuries and one of the three passengers died 35 days later as a result of injuries.

When Kirst was interviewed by the NTSB and FAA as they investigated the incident, it was determined that he mislead the investigators “about the altitude of his plane prior to the crash and misleading the NTSB with varying explanations as to how the crash occurred,” Assistant US Attorney Retta Randall said.[xyz-ihs snippet=”adsense-body-ad”]As a result  of his misleading statements, Kirst’s Airman Pilot Certificate was revoked on an emergency basis.

Then, after the revocation his certificate, Kirst was seen flying his plane.

If Kirst is convicted of the  charges, he “faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison, and a $250,000 fine, or both. Under federal sentencing statutes, the actual sentence imposed will be based upon the seriousness of the offenses and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant,” Randall pointed out.