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

Flowers bloom at Soldotna City Hall on Wednesday, June 24, 2021, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Soldotna OKs bumps to city water, sewer rates

The changes are effective July 1

Triumvirate Theatre President Joe Rizzo testifies before the Kenai Planning & Zoning Commission on Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2023, in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Kenai OKs permit for new Triumvirate playhouse

The playhouse design describes a $4.7 million facility that is two stories with an audience capacity of 150 people

Kenai City Council member Alex Douthit testifies in support of legislation allowing chickens on some city lots during a meeting of the Kenai Planning & Zoning Commission on Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2023, in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Kenai planning group gives conditional thumbs-up to chicken ordinance

The legislation would allow Kenai residents to keep up to 12 chicken hens on certain lots

Emergency personnel respond to a fire on R/V Qualifier, in the Northern Enterprises Boatyard on Kachemak Drive, Jan. 19, 2023, in Homer, Alaska. (Photos by Nika Wolfe)
Research vessel catches fire in Homer boatyard

The cause of the fire and extent of the damage is not yet known

Alaska Vocational Technical Center Executive Director Cathy LeCompte presents during a Soldotna Chamber of Commerce luncheon at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex on Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2023, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
AVTEC director plugs programming at chamber luncheon

AVTEC is about more, LeCompte said, than just checking off classes to gain certification

From left, Dave Carey, Linda Farnsworth-Hutchings, Zach Hamilton and Peter Micciche participate in a Kenai Peninsula Borough mayor candidate forum on Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2023 in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Borough mayoral candidates participate in Tuesday forum

The forum was hosted by the Peninsula Clarion and KDLL 91.9 FM in partnership with the Central Peninsula League of Women Voters

A volunteer ladles Hungarian mushroom soup donated by Odie’s at Kenai United Methodist Food Pantry in Kenai, Alaska, on Monday, Jan. 23, 2022. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Church food pantry marks 20 years of service

The Food Pantry at Kenai United Methodist Church opened Jan. 26, 2003

Library Director Dave Berry and Advisory Board Chair Kate Finn participate in Library Advisory Board meeting on Tuesday Jan. 17, 2023, at Homer City Hall, in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Emilie Springer/Homer News)
Homer Library Advisory Board upholds decision to retain LGBTQ+ books

A citizen’s group last year submitted a petition asking that the books be removed from the children’s section

Most Read