Breaking: Pilot in inlet crash identified

Posted: Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Pilot Randy Crawford remained missing at 3 p.m. Tuesday, after the plane he had been flying was retrieved intact from the icy waters of Cook Inlet.

At about 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday, Crawford was making a cargo run from Kenai to Kokhimak in an Air Supply Alaska LCC leased Cessna 207 when it started to have engine trouble. Crawford made a Mayday call to the FAA flight tower at Kenai Municipal Airport.

Kenai Fire and Police and Nikiski Fire departments, troopers, U.S. Coast Guard, Air National Guard, LifeFlight helicopter and other aircraft were dispatched to locate the plane.

Nothing more was seen or heard from Crawford or the plane, however, until early in the afternoon when aircraft searching for the plane detected a signal coming from the plane's electronic locator beacon and spotted a plane tail above the water in a tidal flats area about halfway between Kalgin Island and the West Forelands, and about 2 1/2 miles from the nearest shore.

At about 3 p.m. a ship, the bulk carrier Seabulk Nevada, approached the plane tail, identified it as the plane Crawford had been flying and pulled it from the water. The plane was found intact, but there was still no sign of Crawford.

A story with additional details will appear in the Clarion on Wednesday.

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