ANCHORAGE, Alaska — An Alaska Air National Guard helicopter rescued three men from a plane crash near Ptarmigan Pass early Wednesday morning after an overnight search.
At about 10:50 p.m. Tuesday night, a Cessna 180 scheduled to return to Anchorage from Ptarmigan Pass by 9 p.m. was reported overdue to Alaska State Troopers. The caller had also received an emergency signal from a SPOT personal beacon on board the plane.
Troopers relayed information on the overdue plane to the 11th Air Force’s Rescue Coordination Center, which launched an HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopter and an HC-130 aircraft from Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson.
After spotting the crash site about 11 miles south of Ptarmigan Pass from the air, all three people on board were rescued by the Pave Hawk just before 2 a.m. and flown to Providence Alaska Medical Center in Anchorage. All three men -- 64-year-old pilot Terry Jurenka, and passengers 48-year-old Troy Nicholson of Chugiak and Wayne Shearer -- sustained only minor injuries, and were reported in good condition.
The Cessna was apparently taking off from Ptarmigan Pass when it was hit by a strong gust of wind and crashed into the trees.
The National Transportation Safety Board has been notified of the crash.