Missing plane likely crashed into Alaska lake, officials say

  • By Mark Thiessen
  • Saturday, December 10, 2016 9:41pm
  • News

ANCHORAGE — A small airplane ferrying a father and his two teenage children to Anchorage presumably plunged into an expansive Alaska lake shortly after taking off from a nearby rural community, officials said Friday.

No bodies have been found, but items belonging to the pilot and three passengers on board were discovered floating Thursday in Lake Clark, said John Quinley, a spokesman for the National Park Service in Alaska.

The names of the four were released Friday, a day after families were notified that debris belonging to them had been located.

All four on board the single-engine Piper PA-28 Cherokee plane were from Port Alsworth, a small community about 170 miles southwest of Anchorage. They included the pilot, Kyle Longerbeam, 25; Scott Blom, 45, and his children, Kaitlyn Blom, 14, and Zach Blom, 13.

Clint Johnson, head of the Alaska region of the National Transportation Safety Board, said other members of the Blom family took off in a separate plane and arrived safely in Anchorage. Johnson told Anchorage television station KTUU that it wasn’t immediately clear why the family was flying in two different airplanes. Quinley said the family had lived there for about three years. The debris was found about 3 p.m. Thursday, about 11 miles northeast of Port Alsworth.

Searchers in boats and airplanes forced to stop work because it got dark returned at daybreak Friday to resume looking for the missing airplane in the 375-foot deep lake. An Alaska State Trooper helicopter was set to help searchers Saturday if needed.

Ice that would hinder searchers has not totally covered the 42-mile long lake, allowing access by boat. The plane left Port Alsworth about 10 a.m. Wednesday and was due to land two hours later in Anchorage.

Responders said the initial search area was hampered by fog and darkness at Lake Clark Pass, a narrow mountain river valley that was believed to be part of the aircraft’s flight path.

Searchers found no indication of any emergency locator beacon being activated in the area, Alaska Air National Guard Staff Sgt. Edward Eagerton said.

More in News

Renewable IPP CEO Jenn Miller presents information about solar power during a meeting of the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly on Tuesday, Oct. 12, 2021 in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Company looks to build solar farm on peninsula

It would be roughly 20 times the size of the largest solar farm currently in the state.

(Image courtesy CDC)
Officials: COVID is at a plateau in Alaska

The approved COVID vaccines, Zink said, are the best tool to get cases to drop off.

Clem Tillion of Halibut Cove poses for a photo on Jan. 9, 2020, in Homer, Alaska. The veteran Alaska legislator was passing through Homer while waiting to take the M/V Tustumena ferry to Kodiak. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)
Clem Tillion, PFD founder and former legislator, dies at 96

Tillion died Wedneday, Oct. 13, at Halibut Cove home.

“Soctober” will take place from noon to 5 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 16, 2021, at the Cook Inlet Counseling parking lot at 10200 Kenai Spur Highway in Kenai, and consists of rock painting, the winter gear giveaway and a free spaghetti lunch. (Image via Cook Inlet Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse)
Recovery group to host outreach event

The event will include rock painting, the winter gear giveaway and a free spaghetti lunch.

Finn Petersen, left, is announced the winner of a $49,000 Alaska 529 scholarship on Thursday, Oct. 14, 2021, as part of the “Give AK a Shot” COVID-19 vaccine program. (Photo via the Alaska Chamber of Commerce)
Anchorage residents win latest vaccine lottery

“Give AK a Shot” awards $49,000 in cash scholarships to one newly vaccinated adult and one child.

Jason Floyd testifies in opposition to COVID-19 mandates during a meeting of the Soldotna City Council on Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2021 in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Protesters pack council meeting, declare ‘medical liberty’

Attendance at Wednesday’s meeting was reduced to standing-room only.

Baked goods are on display during a Soldotna Chamber of Commerce pie auction in this undated photo. (Photo courtesy Soldotna Chamber of Commerce)
‘Local gourmets’ to share baking skills at Soldotna Pie Auction

The Great British Baking Show-esque event showcases local culinary talent.

A spruce bark beetle is seen on the underside of a piece of bark taken from logs stacked near Central Peninsula Landfill on Thursday, July 1, 2021 near Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Chugach campgrounds to be closed for beetle kill mitigation

Only one campground will be closed at a time, and updates on closures will be shared to the Chugach National Forest’s website.

Most Read