This Day in Alaska History-August 4th, 2018

On August 4th, 2018, a de Havilland Beaver belonging to Rust’s Flying Service took off from Talkeetna airport on a 1-hour flightseeing trip with four Polish visitors.

A short time later the aircraft’s ELT was triggered on a ridge high on Thunder Mountain 14 miles from the Denali Summit.

The pilot, Craig Layson,  made contact with K2 Aviation twice following the crash, but, but contact was cut short both times, then went silent and the world would never again hear from the aircraft’s occupants.

When the crash site was located two days later by a National Park Service helicopter it was spotted in a crevasse. A park ranger was lowered to the wreckage and he spotted four bodies. A second attempt was made on August 10th and the remaining body was discovered.

The National Transportation Safety Board was unable to reach the site because of terrain and avalanche dangers.

The following year the site was assessed again and it was found that a hanging glacier had calved sending several thousand tons of ice and debris into the crash site burying it so completely that no sign of the wreckage could be seen.

The aircraft and its occupants remain on the mountain.