Remains of six Alaska sightseeing plane crash victims recovered, identified

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Ketchikan Volunteer Rescue Squad personnel land and disembark from a Hughes 369D helicopter on Thursday, Aug. 5, 2021, at Temsco Helicopters Inc in Ketchikan, Alaska. The KVRS, U.S. Coast Guard, Alaska State Troopers and U.S. Forest Service responded to a radio beacon alert from a downed Southeast Aviation de Havilland Beaver float plane that was carrying five passengers from the Holland America Line cruise ship Nieuw Amsterdam, according to Coast Guard, Holland America and KVRS information. The sightseeing plane crashed Thursday in southeast Alaska, killing all six people on board, the U.S. Coast Guard said. (Dustin Safranek/Ketchikan Daily News via AP)

The six sightseeing plane crash victims were retrieved and identified following the difficulty in reaching the plane’s debris as poor weather conditions hinder the crews.

On late Saturday, the Alaska State Troopers were able to identify the pilot along with the five passengers aboard the aircraft that crashed Thursday. The plane, which departed from Misty Fjords National Monument, went down as the pilot was bringing the passengers to Ketchikan.

Included in those who died from the crash were the 69-year-old Mark Henderson and the 60-year-old Jacquelyn Komplin who are both from Napa, California; 55-year-old Andrea McArthur and 20-year-old Rachel McArthur from Woodstock Georgia; and 77-year-old Janet Kroll from Mount Prospect, Illinois. The pilot was identified as the 64-year-old Rolf Lanzendorfer from Cle Elum, Washington.

The five plane passengers were on an outing of the Holland America Line cruise ship Nieuw Amsterdam.

For cruise ships traveling Alaska, Ketchikan is a famous stop and passengers aboard the cruise ship are treated to different sightseeing excursions.

Glacier valleys, snow-covered peaks as well as lakes in the wilderness are among the famed sights among the small plane flights to Misty Fjords National Monument.

At about 11:20 in the morning on Thursday, the emergency beacon of the plan was activated, the U.S. Coast Guard said.

Damage on a ridgeline was reported by a helicopter company while they conducted a search in the area. The wreckage was found by Coast Guard crew members at around 2:40 in the afternoon.

The agency said that a coast guard helicopter assisted a couple of rescue swimmers into the site who reported that no one survived the plane crash.

The bodies were hardly recovered because of the poor weather conditions. The crash site was accessed by the Alaska State Troopers and members of the Ketchikan Volunteer Rescue Squad on Saturday through a chartered Temsco helicopter.

The troopers said the remains of the six victims will be brought to the State Medical Examiner’s Office in Anchorage, ABC News reported.

The cause of the accident will be investigated both by the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration.