Cargo Plane Crashes in Denali National Park and Preserve, All On Board Thought Lost

Three people were thought to have died when a cargo plane crashed and erupted into flames in Denali National Park and Preserve. NPS photos.

National Transportation and Safety Administration investigators are headed to Denali National Park and Preserve in an effort to determine why a multi-engine cargo plane crashed not far from park headquarters.

Three aboard the plane were thought to have died when it crashed on the south-facing slope of Mount Healy, a 5,417-foot peak less than a mile from the headquarters and roughly 200 yards north of the Denali Park Road, a park statement said. There identities were being withheld.

The plane, a Fairchild C-123 registered to All West Freight, Inc., of Delta Junction, Alaska, crashed about 3 p.m. Sunday. Park spokeswoman Kris Fister said the crash started a wildland fire that firefighters managed to contain to about an acre.

The first personnel arrived on scene within minutes, but the wreckage was already engulfed in flames, the spokeswoman said.

The Denali Park Road is open to traffic, but the Rock Creek and Roadside Trails (which link park headquarters and the Denali Visitor Center) are temporarily closed, said Ms. Fister. There also was a Temporary Flight Restriction in effect over the crash site until further notice, she added. Pilots using the park airstrip or transiting the Windy Pass area were being cautioned to check Notices to Aircraft and be alert for firefighting and official aircraft.