Pilot, passengers identified in fatal Alaska crash

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — The pilot of a small airplane that crashed near Cantwell, Alaska, with two others onboard has been identified as a Washington state man who operated an airplane tour group.

Dale Hemman, 61, of Steilacoom, Wash., died in the crash, along with John Ellenberg, 74, of Greenville, S.C., and Laurie Buckner, 52, of Simpsonville, S.C., Alaska State Troopers said.

Hemman owned Fairbanks-based Let’s Fly Alaska, a “guided, self-fly” tour company, the Anchorage Daily News reported.

Hemman on Friday was going to lead 19 airplanes from Fairbanks to Homer but started out early to check weather through an Alaska Range pass. When the airplane didn’t return, other pilots reported it missing.

A fire crew from the community of Cantwell spotted the twin-engine Beechcraft Baron burning at noon Friday off the Parks Highway.

National Transportation Safety Board investigator Clint Johnson said the cause of the crash is not clear. He and other investigators are reviewing weather data and trying to reconstruct the plane from the wreckage, which he described as highly fragmented.

“That’s indicative of a high-speed impact,” Johnson said.

Hemman was involved in another crash last July. The Beechcraft Bonanza he was flying lost engine power after taking off from the Fairbanks airport. He landed the plane in a nearby field. There were no injuries, an NTSB report into the crash said. A cause for the sudden engine failure wasn’t found.

He posted a video on YouTube of the crash landing. A similar onboard camera on the plane in Friday’s crash might help investigators determine of a cause of the crash.

More in Local News

Food stuffs for a local chapter of A Simple Gesture at Fitness Evolution, the communal pick-up point, in Arlington on Jan. 12. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
There’s an easier way to donate to food banks

Grab a green bag, fill it gradually with grocery items — and someone will pick it up from your home.

Lake Stevens man shot by deputies reportedly was suicidal

The fatal shooting is the latest incident where someone apparently wanted police to fire.

Man suspected of robbing Rite Aids

Mill Creek police released a sketch Monday evening of the suspect.

Suspect: Marysville church fire ignited by burning shoelaces

The 21-year-old told police it was an accident, but he’s under investigation for second-degree arson.

Police seek witnesses to Marysville hit-and-run

A Seattle man suffered broken bones in the accident.

Tracking device leads police to bank robbery suspect

The man walked into a Wells Fargo around 3:15 Tuesday and told the teller he had a bomb.

Mayor, others break ground on low-barrier housing in Everett

Somers: The complex is expected to save lives and “really shows the heart of this community.”

Volunteers conduct annual count of homeless population

They worked througha standard set of questions to learn why people have ended up where they are.

Former Everett councilman also sued his employer, the county

Ron Gipson says he suffered racial discrimination related to an investigation into sexual harassment.

Most Read