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

Former Monroe cop loses appeal on sex crimes conviction

Once a highly respected officer, he was found guilty of secretly videotaping his kids’ babysitter.

Suspect sought in two Everett bank robberies

He’s described as 5-foot-10 to 6-foot-1, with dark hair and a goatee, and may have a neck tattoo.

Video shows man suspected of attacking a woman in Edmonds

The man allegedly threw her on the ground, then ran away after the she began kicking and screaming.

Two missing men found, one alive and one dead

The man found alive was found in an apartment across the hallway and taken to a hospital.

Darrington School Board dealing with upheavals

The crux of the controversy seems to be the superintendent’s job.

Alaska Airlines has selected destinations for new service from Paine Field. (Alaska Airlines)
Alaska Airlines will fly from Everett to 8 West Coast cities

Two destinations that didn’t make the list were Spokane and Hawaii.

Train kills man who was trying to get off tracks in Monroe

The conductor said he attempted to stop after sighting the man, who’d been lying on the rails.

Front Porch

EVENTS Construction to start on housing project A groundbreaking is scheduled for… Continue reading

FILE - This Tuesday, May 30, 2017 file photo, former Washington Gov. John Spellman, second from left, leaves a memorial service in Renton, Wash. Spellman, the last Republican governor elected in Washington, has died at age 91. Spellman’s son, Seattle attorney David Spellman, confirmed his death Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2018. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren,File)
John Spellman was last GOP governor of Washingon

He had spent recent weeks “being very disappointed with the Cougs and the Huskies,” his son said.

Most Read