A plane crash north of Sutton on Thursday claimed the lives of both men on board. According to the Alaska State Troopers, the Rescue Coordination Center received a report of an overdue aircraft Thursday night. No formal flight plan had been filed, and the plane was reported overdue by family members. The 210th and 212th Rescue Squadrons were deployed and located the aircraft, an American Champion Citabria, early on Friday morning using its emergency beacon. Rescue personnel were unable to land, and were hoisted to the ground, where they discovered that Adam Norton and Derrik Swanson, both of Palmer, were deceased. The positive identity of both men is pending confirmation from the State Medical Examiner, and Troopers say the next of kin have been notified.
Clint Johnson, Chief of the Alaska office of the NTSB, says that the plane is registered to Norton, but that they had been unable to confirm whether he was flying the aircraft when it crashed in the area of Knik Lake. Trooper spokeswoman Megan Peters said during the early afternoon on Friday that Troopers were on the scene in Helo-2, and that the recovery of Norton’s and Swanson’s remains was underway.
Both Johnson and Peters describe the area as steep enough to prohibit an airplane from landing, so all recovery and investigation efforts are being conducted by helicopter. Troopers describe the area as a mountainside leading to a ravine, and the NTSB says that there are numerous alder trees in the area.
Peters says she expects the recovery effort to conclude Friday afternoon, and Johnson says the NTSB has a helicopter on standby to begin its investigation.