Fatal plan crash at Merrill Field Airport


by Jessica Gruenling

ANCHORAGE, Ak-- Late this afternoon, APD identified the pilot of a deadly plane crash in Anchorage.

Police say the victim was 61-year-old Charles Hancock of Anchorage.

Just before 8:30 on Wednesday morning Glen Alsworth the owner of Lake Clark Air Services looked on as a plane was taking.

"I heard a plane taking off, as any pilot would do I turned around to watch," Glen Alsworth, Owner, Lake Clark Air Services.

But the 1964 Piper PA-12 would not get any further.

"it began to pitch up quite steeply, and pitch up to a point where it didn't look like it could sustain flight any longer," Alsworth.
Officials of the National Transportation Safety Board say the plane then descended nose down killing 61-year-old Charles Hancock.

"There was a number of us from local businesses that ran right to the plane to see if there was anything we could do, but it wasn't possible to get into the plane because of the impact and the damage prohibited use of opening a door or even accessing the plane," Alsworth.
The crash shut down all runways for 35 minutes, and response teams were at the scene of crash quickly.

After working with law enforcement, the fire department, and medical examiners, NTSB started its investigation.
"Once they were through with their work we were able to cover the aircraft to a secure hanger and to continue with the air frame and power plant and just get our initial investigation down," Cathy Gagne, NTSB.
It is too early to have any known cause and NTSB is in its initial fact finding phase.
"We do is try and find out what we can about the pilot and the air craft, talk to what witnesses that we could were available, we did meet with the family," Gagne.
Members of the aviation community say they are anxious to find the cause of this tragedy.
"Aviation community is a small community and in one way it's a small family in Alaska and every tragedy affects all of us we're just really praying for the family and hoping the best for them," Alsworth.

A preliminary report is expected later next week.

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