by Phillip Manning ~ July 2nd, 2013
On Monday evening, the Alaska Air National Guard conducted a search and rescue near Iron Creek, east of Talkeetna. According to the Alaska National guard, an F-22 Raptor heard a mayday call, but did not receive a response when he attempted to contact the pilot in distress. According to the Alaska State Troopers, an Alaska Airlines jet received a signal from an emergency locator beacon an hour later. The Rescue Coordination Center at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson was notified by both pilots, and a Pavehawk helicopter was dispatched. Two C-130 airplanes also assisted in finding what turned out to be a Piper Super Cruiser that had crashed with two people on board.
The pilot, William Gough (GOFF), and passenger, Alan Thompson, both of Washington, were picked up by two specially trained “Guardian Angel” soldiers and returned safely to Talkeetna. Neither man was injured in the crash. The small airplane had crashed on Sunday evening, but the mayday signal was not picked up until Monday afternoon, according to the State Troopers. The pilot and passenger were on their way to a hunting camp, and had adequate supplies to shelter inside the downed aircraft until rescue arrived.
According to the National Transportation Safety Board, Gough (GOFF) was flying to make camp on the Talkeetna River when he turned up the wrong waterway. When he attempted to turn around, he hit trees, which damaged the plane and caused the crash. The NTSB is in contact with the pilot and will continue the investigation.