A plane went missing in Alaska Wednesday morning, and a search is underway for the aircraft, which was carrying four people from Port Alsworth to Anchorage.
The small airplane, described by Alaska Dispatch News as a Piper PA-28 Cherokee, departed about 10:30 a.m. The plane, though did not arrive to its destination at Merrill Field, said Clint Johnson, spokesman for the National Transportation Safety Board, according to KTVA.
The airplane was supposed to pass through Lake Creek Pass on its way to Anchorage, with a scheduled landing for noon local time, according to KTVA. Sgt. Edward Eagerton, of the Alaska Rescue Coordination Center, told the station that the Alaska Air National Guard dispatched a C-130 airplane to help in the search effort.
An MC-130 from the California Air National Guard that was conducting a training operation in Alaska joined the search along with a para-rescue squad from the Alaska Air National Guard. An HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopter traveled from Eielson Air Force Base southeast of Fairbanks to assist, too, noted the Alaska Dispatch News.
The missing aircraft was the second airway incident in the state this week. The Fairbanks News-Miner reported that former state Rep. Mike Kelly, of Fairbanks, died in a plane crash 17 miles southeast of Fairbanks at about 1:30 p.m. Wednesday.
Kelly, 74, had served on the University of Alaska Board of Regents and led the Golden Valley Electric Association. The brother of Alaska State Sen. Pete Kelly, Mike Kelly had served in the state legislature from 2004-2010, according to the News Miner.
The newspaper stated that a military helicopter flying in the area heard the downed aircraft's emergency locator beacon and responded to the crash. Kelly was flying a two-seater American Champion Citabria, the News-Miner noted.
"He was a diligent, hard-working public servant, who served the people of Fairbanks and Alaska with the best interest of Alaska as his guide," said Alaska Senate President Kevin Meyer in a statement about Kelly, according to KTUU-TV.
"He was respected by all his colleagues for his hard work and for fighting for what was best for Alaska. An avid outdoorsman and pilot, Rep. Kelly had a fantastic reputation for breaking the tension in a situation by telling his colleagues stories of his great Alaska adventures," Meyer continued.
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