Teenage boy rescued; plane wreckage found

Posted: Friday, August 17, 2007

ANCHORAGE - A teenage boy who watched his father and his hunting partner fly off and not return from a short flight to scout for sheep was rescued after a two-day wait.

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The boy was picked up Wednesday and Alaska Air National Guard searchers Thursday found the crash of a small airplane on the side of a nearby mountain.

The wrecked plane containing two bodies was found north of Arctic Village, a community of 146 about 235 miles northeast of Fairbanks.

The plane crashed at the 4,000-foot level and was consumed by fire, said Clint Johnson, an investigator for the National Transportation Safety Board.

Names of the victims have not been released. The airplane was registered to Steven R. Wilson of Gustavus. Johnson said that did not mean he was on board.

The 15-year-old boy was spotted by a passing plane Wednesday signaling an SOS near Crane Creek north of Arctic Village.

The plane landed and discovered that the boy had been alone since Monday afternoon, said Alaska National Guard Capt. Guy Hayes.

The boy and two adults, including the teenager's father, had left Gustavus on Monday for their camp about 20 miles north of Arctic Village, Johnson said. The adults dropped off the boy and the gear and the two adults got back on the plane.

"The intent was just to go scout some sheep, and they were supposed to be gone no longer than 30 minutes," Johnson said.

Johnson said the National Transportation Safety Board is investigating but it is too early to know the cause of the crash.

The boy was flown to Eielson Air Force Base outside Fairbanks.

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