10 people dead in Alaska plane crash

(Loren Holmes / Alaska Dispatch )
(Loren Holmes / Alaska Dispatch )

A Nikiski-based charter plane crashed at the Soldotna Municipal Airport in south Alaska Sunday morning, killing all 10 people aboard, including the pilot, who is president of the family-owned business. No one survived.

National Transportation Safety Board officials are expected to reach the Kenai Peninsula Monday and begin its investigation of one of Alaska’s worst aviation accidents.

The single-engine De Havilland turbine Otter is registered to Rediske Air, Inc. Nikiski pilot Willy Rediske, president of the small aviation company, was flying the aircraft.

The aircraft can legally seat nine people in addition to the pilot.

The Soldotna Police Department said all the remains have been recovered and sent to the State Medical Examiner’s Office in Anchorage for autopsy and positive identification. Responders continued to clear debris from the plane crash Sunday.

Weather at the time of the crash was reported to be cloudy with a light wind.

Three fire engines surrounded the crash site Sunday evening. The tail of the destroyed planed jutted up from the ground; charred debris lay flattened on the runway.

Still unclear is whether the plane had departed the airport or was landing when it crashed about 11:20 a.m.

The NTSB will investigate the cause of the crash, said spokesperson Clint Johnson. The Soldotna Municipal Airport will remain closed until Monday afternoon, when investigators from Washington, D.C. should arrive.

Alaska air crashes with so many fatalities are rare. In September of 1995, an Air Force AWACS crashed at Elmendorf Air Force Base, killing 24. In 1987, a Ryan Air Beech 1900 crashed in Homer, killing 18 people. Two years earlier, two planes spotting sheep collided near Knik Glacier, killing 12.

This is a developing story. Contact Jerzy Shedlock at jerzy(at)alaskadispatch.com and Colleen Mondor at colleen(at)alaskadispatch.com

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