Investigators seeking answers in plane crash

Posted: Friday, April 12, 2002

The investigation into Wednesday's fatal plane crash on the Mendenhall Wetlands near the Juneau Airport is continuing.

An investigator from the National Transportation Safety Board and two inspectors from the Federal Aviation Administration were examining the aircraft this morning in a hangar at the airport, said Terry Gordon, manager of the FAA Flight Standards District office in Juneau.

The crash killed veteran Alaska aviator Charles Thomas "Tom" Madsen Sr., 52, of Juneau, the sole occupant of the 1959 Beechcraft 18. According to investigators, Madsen's plane had just lifted off for a trip up the Taku River when it developed an as-yet-unidentified problem and crashed.

The plane came to rest on mudflats about 400 yards from the center of the runway. The wreckage was submerged by high tide several times before it could be moved to a hangar at the airport.

A memorial citation for Madsen is being drafted by Juneau Rep. Bill Hudson's office for introduction to the state Legislature.

Prior to moving to Juneau three years ago, Madsen spent 18 years flying in the Aleutian Islands and was the owner of Aleutian Air Ltd. of Unalaska. He was known in the remote communities of that region for providing a vital link to the outside world and completing several life-saving medevac flights.

Madsen is survived by his wife, Stephanie, and three children, Tom Jr., Haans and Melinda.

A memorial fund for Haans and Melinda Madsen's education has been established at Key Bank and Wells Fargo Bank. A memorial service will be held at 5:30 p.m. Monday, April 15, in the Ward Air Hangar in Juneau.

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