ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The bodies of four people killed when a small airplane crashed Wednesday and burst into flames have been recovered from a heavily wooded area north of Anchorage, officials said.
The airplane crashed shortly after takeoff from Birchwood Airport, a small plane facility about 20 miles north of downtown Anchorage. The accident happened just after 9 a.m., police said.
The post-crash fire “takes away a lot of our evidence,” Shaun Williams, a National Transportation Safety Board investigator, said at a news conference. “There was quite a bit of fire damage.”
Among those killed were the pilot, George Kobelnyk, 54, and co-pilot, Christian Bohrer, 20, Anchorage police said in a statement.
Also killed were the two passengers, Sarah Glaves, 36, and Kyle Braun, 27. Hometowns weren’t immediately available.
The crash initially sparked concerns about a possible wildfire, but Anchorage Fire Chief Denis LeBlanc said the blaze was contained to the location.
Police got a call from a citizen who said they thought they heard a plane crashing near a road.
“A few moments later, they observed smoke,” Anchorage police spokeswoman Jennifer Castro said.
The plane’s destination wasn’t immediately known.
The NTSB and the Federal Aviation Administration are investigating.