Recovery efforts of Haines plane crash hampered by weather

Posted: Tuesday, July 31, 2001

JUNEAU (AP) -- Efforts to reach the site of a flightseeing plane that crashed carrying six people near Haines was hampered by weather early Tuesday, Alaska State Troopers said.

The Cherokee Six plane was found at about 7:15 p.m. Monday by a Coast Guard helicopter high on the Davidson Glacier, about 12 miles south of Haines.

Police identified two of the six people killed in the crash as pilot Chad Beers, 26, of Juneau, and Marianne Cederberg, 55, who is a Canadian. The names of four German tourists killed have not been released.

A team of climbers with Juneau Mountain Rescue and a representative with the of the National Transportation Safety Board were expected to travel to the crash site on Tuesday, said Greg Wilkinson, spokesman for the Alaska State Troopers.

''The weather's got us all sitting on the ground,'' Wilkinson said.

The sky over Haines was overcast with a cloud ceiling at 1,600 feet and patchy fog and light drizzle was expected to increase in the afternoon, according to the National Weather Service in Juneau.

The crash site sits at an elevation of 5,000 feet on the Davidson Glacier, Wilkinson said.

State Troopers will use a helicopter from a private air carrier in Juneau in its attempts to reach the crash site later Tuesday, Wilkinson said. Earlier officials had requested an Army National Guard UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter assist in the recovery efforts.

The single-engine plane, operated by LAB Flying Service of Haines, failed to return from an hour and a half sightseeing tour after taking off about 2 p.m. from Skagway.

A search was launched at about 5 p.m. The Coast Guard followed an emergency beacon on the plane and two Coast Guard helicopters dispatched with a rescue team from Juneau Mountain Rescue landed at the crash site on Monday. There were no signs of survivors.

Coast Guard Petty Officer Darrell Wilson said the wreckage was found at the base of a rockface where it had impacted.

The victims were part of a tour out of Whitehorse, in the Yukon. The identity of the passengers was being withheld until relatives are notified, Wilkinson said.

LAB has about three dozen planes operating across Southeast Alaska. The company's business operations are in Haines and flight operations are based in Juneau.

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