The Soldotna Police Department is contacting family members of the victims. The pilot is believed to be a local resident, while all the passengers are believed to be from South Carolina. SPD is working with South Carolina authorities to identify and locate the probable next of kin.
The names of the victims, as well as other potential identifying information, will not be released until the remains of individuals have been positively identified by the state medical examiner.
The single-engine De Havilland Otter, registered to Rediske Air, Inc. of Nikiski had nine passengers and one pilot aboard when the accident happened at Soldotna’s Municipal Airport, authorities said.
National Transportation and Safety Board spokesperson Lynn Lunsford said that information coming into his office Sunday was conflicting and unclear if the plane was landing or taking off at the time of the incident.
Will Satathite, on hand at the Rediske Air’s Nikiski office, confirmed the aircraft was flown by Nikiski pilot Willy Rediske with nine passengers onboard. Rediske was president of the small aviation company centered on the Kenai Peninsula.
Satathite also said that Rediske Air, Inc. has an office at the Soldotna airport.
According to Megan Peters with the Alaska State Troopers, Soldotna police received a report of a plane crash at the Soldotna Airport located down Funny River Road shortly before 11:20a.m.
Soldotna police, Fire and Medic personnel with Central Emergency Services and Alaska State Troopers responded to find the aircraft was fully engulfed in flames, which CES put out.
Lunsford confirmed there were no survivors. Investigators from Anchorage were en route to Soldotna Sunday afternoon, he said. Since the crash was fatal, the NTSB will be in charge of the investigation upon their arrival, he said.