State Briefs

Posted: Friday, June 27, 2003

Bodies recovered at plane crash site

JUNEAU - Authorities on Thursday afternoon recovered the bodies of two people who died in a small-plane crash Wednesday morning 12 miles north of Skagway.

Alaska State Troopers said the bodies of the male pilot, 70, and his wife, 69, of Sedgwick Kan., were recovered from the wreckage of the private Cessna 172 and carried to the Klondike Highway by members of the Skagway Volunteer Fire Department, Skagway Police Department and the National Transportation Safety Board.

The bodies were to be flown to Juneau on a chartered plane. The pilot's body then will be flown to the state medical examiner's office in Anchorage for an autopsy, troopers said. Their names will be released once the next of kin has been notified.

The couple took off from Juneau at about 10:30 a.m. Wednesday and crashed on a foggy mountainside in the White Pass by 11:09 a.m. Their flight plan showed them en route to Whitehorse, Yukon Territory.

Juneau man charged with drug offense

JUNEAU - A Juneau man, Joseph Cox, 30, was arraigned Tuesday on a charge of third-degree drug misconduct, a felony. Authorities allege he possessed psilocybin mushrooms with the intent to sell.

Cox was arrested Saturday afternoon by police after they received a report that a man was selling drugs near Shattuck Way and Front Street downtown, the Southeast Alaska Narcotics Enforcement Team said Thursday.

Cox was arrested on a charge of possessing marijuana, and investigators obtained a warrant to search his travel bag, SEANET said. SEANET said investigators found about 3.8 ounces of psilocybin mushrooms, or about 109 doses, said trooper Sgt. Tim Birt.

Cox was still being held Thursday at the Lemon Creek Correctional Center in lieu of $5,000 bail, the prison said.

Heads up at Exit Glacier

ANCHORAGE - Exit Glacier near Seward is extra active these days, and National Park Service officials said huge calving chunks of ice narrowly missed three tourists from India.

Visitors to the retreating glacier should pay attention to warning signs posted in risky areas, said Anne Castellina, superintendent of Kenai Fjords National Park.

The close call occurred June 18, when chunks as large as compact cars fell where the three visitors had just been standing, Castellina said. The glacier also calved on Saturday.

Earlier this week, the glacier was developing a hairline crack near its edge, indicating more calving ahead, Castellina said.

Kachemak Bay spill closes fishing

ANCHORAGE - A 43-foot fishing tender capsized early Wednesday inside a salmon fishing area near Port Graham on the south side of Kachemak Bay, spilling 400 gallons of diesel fuel and creating a sheen on the water.

A commercial set-gillnet fishery to start Thursday morning in the Port Graham subdistrict was postponed "as a precautionary measure" until further notice while biologists monitored the spill, said the state Department of Fish and Game. A subsistence fishery set for Thursday night also was suspended.

The tender American Eagle capsized for unknown reasons about 1 a.m. east of Russian Point inside the mouth of Port Graham, the state Department of Environmental Conservation said in an incident report. The only crew member on board at the time was safe.

Parents charged with endangering daughter

ANCHORAGE - A Wasilla couple has been charged with one count each of endangering the welfare of a minor after they allegedly allowed their 15-year-old daughter to get involved in a sexual relationship with a 31-year-old man.

Alaska State Troopers have issued a $100,000 arrest warrant for the 31-year-old, who is in Anchorage or the Mat-Su area, said trooper Investigator Ron Hayes. The man and the girl apparently are cousins, Hayes said.

The parents told Hayes that they did not see a problem with the relationship because the Bible said it was OK, the affidavit says. The mother said "she didn't care what the law stated and that she was the one who should decide who her kids can be in love with or not," it says.

The girl's parents pleaded not guilty to felony endangering charges in Palmer court Saturday, Hayes said.

Clouds, rain slow fires near Delta Junction

FAIRBANKS - For the second day in a row, favorable weather conditions Thursday continued to slow the expansion of a large Interior wildfire.

The Sand Creek Fire near the Goodpaster River northeast of Delta Junction grew to approximately 44,000 acres Thursday, only a few thousand more than Tuesday.

Its slow movement brought the southern edge of the burn to about three-quarters of a mile from the nearest cabins on the south fork of the Goodpaster River. Crews continued to work at cabin sites, clearing out combustibles and installing pumps and sprinklers.

Rain began falling Thursday at about 5 a.m. and cooled the fire but did not extinguish it.

The Erickson Creek Fire, which earlier this week closed the Dalton Highway, continued to burn in a limited suppression area Wednesday. The Alaska Interagency Coordination Center said the fire grew 42,000 acres over two days and is now up to 91,000 acres.

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