Pilot killed in McKeon Flats crash

A pilot was killed in a plane crash on the McKeon Flats near China Poot Bay this afternoon. The pilot was the only person on board. Alaska State Troopers are investigating the scene. The crash involved a single-engine plane.

The pilot was identified as George Vonderheide, 66, of Girdwood. Next of kin has been notified, trooper spokesperson Beth Ipsen said.

Homer Electric Association crews discovered the plane crash after receiving reports of a power outage, Ipsen said. While flying in the area, HEA workers picked up an emergency beacon from the downed plane and reported the crash at about 5:30 p.m. 

Crews saw the plane in shallow water near the mouth of the Wosnesenki River.

The plane apparently hit a power line that crosses the river valley. Ipsen said weather conditions were fog and rain, with a low cloud ceiling.

The power outage affected about 20 HEA customers between big Tutka Bay and the McKeon Flats, said HEA spokesperson Joe Gallagher. Power most likely will be out through Friday night and into Saturday. Weather permitting, HEA will send crews over on Saturday to assess the situation, Gallagher said.

Initial indications are that quite a lot of work is to be done, he said. It could be several days before repairs are made.

Michael Armstrong can be reached at michael.armstrong@homernews.com.

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