Troopers: 3 Eagle River residents killed in plane crash

Wednesday, March 6, 2013 - 06:03

The Alaska State Troopers say Eagle River's Ted Smith, 59, Carolyn Sorvoja, 48, and Rosemarie Sorvoja, 10, died when the Cessna 182 they were traveling in crashed near Rainy Pass Monday, March 4. The plane was reportedly en route to Takotna from Anchorage.

The Alaska National Guard said Tuesday, March 5 that the plane — which was reported missing yesterday — was located near Rainy Pass.

According to Guard spokesperson Kalei Rupp, the Cessna 182 was found near the 4,000-foot level of Rainy Pass at around 10:20 a.m. March 5 by a HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopter from the 210th Rescue Squadron. The team aboard the helicopter extricated three bodies from the wreckage.

Rupp said the plane was reported overdue around 4 p.m. March 4 when Merril Field Tower controllers reported the Cessna had not arrived at its destination. Rupp said the pilot did not file a flight plan.

Here's the Guard's complete statement on the incident:

Alaska National Guard finds overdue aircraft with no survivors

CAMP DENALI, Alaska – An Alaska Air National Guard helicopter crew spotted the wreckage of an overdue aircraft March 5 with no survivors onboard.
The HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopter from the 210th Rescue Squadron with a Guardian Angel team onboard from the 212th Rescue Squadron located the overdue aircraft at approximately 10:22 a.m. near the 4,000-ft level of Rainy Pass. All three people on board are deceased. Alaska State Troopers have notified next of kin.
The Guardian Angel team extricated the bodies from the wreckage of the plane. Because of incoming weather and the safety of the site, the Alaska Air National Guard removed the bodies from the scene and is bringing them back to Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson where they will be turned over to Alaska State Troopers.
The 182 Cessna was reported overdue around 4 p.m. March 4 when Merrill Field Tower controllers reported to the 11th Air Force Rescue Coordination Center that a Cessna 182 aircraft had not arrived in Takotna and was supposed to have done so around noon. The RCC began calling airfields in the area of the projected flight path to check if the aircraft had landed somewhere other than Takotna.  According to the RCC, the pilot did not file a flight plan.
“When pilots file a flight plan with the FAA, the FAA initiates a search for an overdue aircraft typically much sooner than when an aircraft is reported late by family or friends,” said Senior Master Sgt. Robert Carte, superintendent of the RCC.
After airfields in the area reported no sign of the overdue aircraft, the RCC tasked the Alaska Air National Guard to begin a search.
At approximately 5:50 p.m., an HC-130 refueling aircraft from the 211th Rescue Squadron and an HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopter from the 210th Rescue Squadron launched from Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Anchorage with Guardian Angel pararescue teams aboard. They each searched for approximately eight hours before returning to JBER for crew rest.
“Nothing was spotted, nothing was heard last night,” Carte said. “Yesterday we conducted what is called a ‘hasty search,’ extensively looking in areas along the projected flight route known to cause problems for aircraft. Today, we have moved into the ‘extended search’ in which we have given grid assignments to search aircraft and are searching in a systematic manner.”
There were at least 10 coordinated aircraft searching for the overdue plane today.
An Alaska Air National Guard HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopter with a Guardian Angel team aboard launched around 8 a.m. An Alaska Air National Guard HC-130 aircraft with another Guardian Angel team aboard soon followed suit. An Alaska Army National Guard UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter from 1-207th Aviation also joined the search this morning. In addition, the Birchwood and Merrill Field Civil Air Patrol were also involved, as well as several Good Samaritan pilots and Iditarod Air Force aircraft. The overdue aircraft was not part of the Iditarod.
The pilot had a personal locator beacon in his vest and a 406 emergency locator transmitter onboard. The Search and Rescue Satellite Aided Tracking, or SARSAT system, has not picked up a signal for either beacon. According to the RCC, the pilot was experienced and traveled well equipped for emergencies.


Here's the Troopers' statement on the incident:

Location: Takotna
Case number: AK 13015264
Type: SAR- missing aircraft
Text: On 3-4-2013 at approximately 2040 hours, McGrath AST was notified of
an overdue aircraft. Investigation revealed that pilot Ted Smith, 59, of Eagle
River, was flying a Cessna 182 with two passengers, Carolyn Sorvoja, 48,
of Eagle River, and Rosemarie Sorvoja, 10, of Eagle River, from Anchorage
to Takotna. The aircraft was supposed to return to Anchorage to transport
additional passengers but failed to arrive by 1600 hours. RCC launched aircraft
early yesterday evening. Alaska State Troopers and Alaska Wildlife Troopers
launched two aircrafts on 3-5-2013 to join search efforts. In the late
morning of 3-5-2013, RCC located the plane wreckage and confirmed that all
on board were deceased. RCC conducted the body recovery effort. Next of Kin
has been notified. Investigation is ongoing.
Received Tuesday, March 05, 2013 1:05 PM and posted Tuesday, March 05, 2013 1:46 PM

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