Engine fire forces emergency landing

Posted: Thursday, March 20, 2003

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- A state pilot and his passenger emerged uninjured after making an emergency landing on a sandbar of the Matanuska River.

Matt Tomter, a pilot with the Alaska Division of Forestry, made the landing Wednesday after an engine caught fire at 11,000 feet. The passenger's name was not released.

The twin-engine plane, an Aerocommander 500S, was damaged in the incident.

Division of Forestry officials said the mishap occurred at about 10:20 a.m. after Tomter took off from Palmer for a check flight. Both of the plane's engines had just undergone maintenance.

The plane is leased by the state for firefighting logistics work and for training those who coordinate air attacks during wildfires.

The division and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the cause of the engine fire.

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