Helicopter wreckage located

Body of crew member recovered on shore of Passage Canal

Posted: Sunday, December 09, 2007

Search and rescue crews on Saturday recovered the body of one of the crew members of the LifeGuard Alaska BK 117 helicopter missing since Monday evening.

According to trooper reports, at approximately 1:35 p.m., searchers found the body of flight nurse John Stumpff, 47, of Sterling, along the shore of Passage Canal near Whittier. Passage Canal is a 12-mile-long, 2-mile-wide body of water leading from Whittier to Prince William Sound. Passage Canal is west of Esther Island, the last know position of the helicopter.

Searchers also recovered several items from the helicopter, which have been turned over to the National Transportation Safety Board.

"Our Providence family is devastated by the loss of our colleagues and patient," said Providence Alaska Medical Center Administrator Bruce Lamoureux in a press release. "As we grieve, we continue to remember the families of those who have lost loved ones. We are deeply grateful for the support we have received from the immediate community and from friends across the state and nation. Please continue to remember the families of these brave individuals, along with our LifeGuard staff, in your thoughts and prayers."

Also onboard the flight were pilot Lance Brabham, 42, of Soldotna, Central Emergency Services paramedic Cameron Carter, 25, of Kenai, and patient Gaye McDowell, 60, of Cordova. The LifeGuard helicopter was based in Soldotna and was flying McDowell from Cordova to Providence Alaska Medical Center in Anchorage when it went missing Monday.

Search efforts by the Coast Guard, Air National Guard, State Troopers and others were hampered by poor weather and low cloud cover over Prince William Sound this week.

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