4 dead: Crash kills Kenai man

Posted: Sunday, August 01, 2004

A Kenai pilot and three passengers died in a plane crash on the western side of Cook Inlet shortly after 6 p.m. Friday.

Christopher Copple, 43, was apparently flying a family from Broadview, Mont., to the Kustatan River for a fishing excursion and was about to land when the single-engine Cessna 170 stalled about a half mile from the Devito Strip and crashed into the dry tundra, according to information from Alaska State Troopers.

Troopers in Soldotna re-ceived a report of the accident from the Rescue Coordination Center in Anchorage about 7:05 p.m. Friday. The Seward Civil Air Patrol located the crash site, and Life Guard from Anchorage landed at the scene but found no survivors.

Copple, 38-year-old Joleen Dyess, her 29-year-old husband, William Christopher Dyess, and her 17-year-old daughter, Taryn Pitsch, died on impact, according to troopers.

Copple, a friend of William Dyess, was a private pilot and borrowed the plane from a friend in Kenai for the 30-mile flight to the river, troopers said. Copple would have turned 44 today.

Soldotna troopers recovered the bodies with a fixed-wing aircraft and returned them to Soldotna Municipal Airport. An autopsy will be performed on Copple's remains.

Troopers said the accident was not weather related. The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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