Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Cessna 172P Skyhawk, N65698: Fatal accident occurred July 26, 2021 in Eagle River, Alaska

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. 

The National Transportation Safety Board traveled to the scene of this accident. Additional Participating Entities: 

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Anchorage, Alaska
Textron Aviation; Wichita, Kansas
Lycoming Engines; Williamsport, Pennsylvania 

Angel Aviation Inc 

Location: Eagle River, AK
Accident Number: ANC21FA065
Date & Time: July 26, 2021, 13:20 Local
Registration: N65698
Aircraft: Cessna 172P
Injuries: 2 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Instructional

On July 26, 2021, about 1320 Alaska daylight time, a Cessna 172P airplane, N65698, was substantially damaged when it was involved in an accident near Eagle River, Alaska. The flight instructor and private pilot received fatal injuries. The flight was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 instructional flight.

The flight, operated by Angel Aviation Inc., Anchorage, Alaska, originated from Merrill Field Airport (MRI), Anchorage, Alaska, about 1215 and was destined for Girdwood Airport (AQY), Girdwood, Alaska. 

After departing MRI, the airplane proceeded northbound near Palmer, Alaska before turning towards the Knik Glacier. The flight, scheduled as a “discovery flight,” was scheduled to last from 1200 until 1400.

When the airplane did not arrive at AQY , a concerned family member referenced a tracking application which showed the airplane had stopped moving in the area of the Eagle River Valley, then notified authorities. About 1700, an alert notice (ALNOT) was issued and a search was initiated, which involved the Alaska Rescue Coordination Center, Civil Air Patrol and other good Samaritan aircraft. About 2245, the wreckage was located in an area of steep, rising glacial terrain at an elevation of about 3,100 ft.

An NTSB post-accident examination revealed that all major components remained attached at their respective attach points. Flight control continuity was established from all control surfaces to the cockpit. Internal engine continuity was confirmed through rotation of the propeller.

The airplane was equipped with an Ameri-King Corporation AK-451-2 emergency locator transmitter (ELT) certified in accordance with technical standards order (TSO) C-126 and C091(a). The ELT remained secure in it’s cradle and the wires and antenna remained attached. During the search, no signals were received from the 406MHz or 121.5MHz system.

The ELT has been retained for further testing.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Cessna 
Registration: N65698
Model/Series: 172P
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built: No
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None
Operator Designator Code:

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: VMC
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: PAFR,388 ft msl 
Observation Time: 12:58 Local
Distance from Accident Site: 16 Nautical Miles 
Temperature/Dew Point: 17°C /9°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Few / 2800 ft AGL 
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: / ,
Lowest Ceiling: None 
Visibility: 9 miles
Altimeter Setting: 29.94 inches Hg 
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Anchorage, AK (MRI)
Destination: Eagle River, AK

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 2 Fatal 
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries:
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: 
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 Fatal
Latitude, Longitude: 61.198351,-149.13063 

Those who may have information that might be relevant to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigation may contact them by email, and any friends and family who want to contact investigators about the accident should email You can also call the NTSB Response Operations Center at 844-373-9922 or 202-314-6290.

McKenna Naheana Vierra, 27 

Dakota Bauder, 23

UPDATE, Wednesday, 9:30 a.m.:

Troopers have identified the two adults killed in a small plane crash in Chugach State Park Monday as 23-year-old Anchorage resident Dakota Bauder and 27-year-old Hawaii resident McKenna Vierra. 

According to the Alaska State Troopers, next of kin has been notified, and the National Transportation Safety Board will investigate the crash.

Original story:

Troopers say the two adult occupants of a plane that crashed in the Chugach Mountains north of Anchorage on Monday are dead. 

According to an online report, troopers were notified of an overdue plane Monday around 8 p.m., and found the wreckage of a plane just before 11 p.m. 

On a phone call Tuesday, Alaska State Troopers spokesperson Austin McDaniel said the wreckage was found in a steep, mountainous area of Eagle River Valley in Chugach State Park.

The plane was a 1982 Cessna 172 P that took off from Merrill Field. It traveled up the Knik River Valley toward Knik Glacier and Lake George before heading south into Chugach State Park.  

According to Federal Aviation Administration records and the tail number provided by troopers, the aircraft belongs to Angel Aviation, a flight school and aircraft rental company. 

Recovery efforts were underway throughout the day Tuesday.

Dakota Bauder, 23

McKenna Naheana Vierra, 27 

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