Searchers located Yakutat air taxi crash

Posted: Friday, July 27, 2001

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- Rescue workers have located the crash site of a Cessna 185 from Gulf Air Taxi of Yakutat that disappeared Thursday but have been unable to reach the plane.

Rescue workers are not sure how many people were on board.

Observers in a National Park Service helicopter said they believe they detected movement at the crash site.

Staff Sgt. Jeff Wells of the Alaska Air Guard said the plane was located 50 miles north of Yakutat, just inside the Canadian border between Mount Kennedy and Mount Hubbard at the 10,400-foot level.

The Air Guard has a 10,000-foot limit on normal rescues.

''Therein lies the problem,'' Well said.

Authorities just before noon Friday were considering options for reaching the crash site.

''We can go higher, but we have to do some things, unload some fuel and gear,'' he said.

Wells said the Park Service is considering landing lower and sending in a mountain rescue team.

Wells said the air taxi was scheduled to pick up hikers on Mount Kennedy at 5 p.m. Thursday. The airplane did not return and a search was launched.

Wells says the Air Guard sent a Hercules rescue tanker to assist the Coast Guard and other agencies in the search.

Wells says the National Park Service helicopter located the crash site at 10 a.m. Friday but the helicopter was unable to land at the site.

Searchers do not know whether the hikers were on board the crashed plane.

A second air taxi flight located the hikers' camp site.

Wells says the camp was not torn down but there were no sign of the hikers.

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