Pamela Hawthorne, 06-25-03
James Hawthorne
Albert Novak

By PETER PORCO, Anchorage Daily News, July 9, 2003

Woman's body tentatively ID'd
FLORIDA TEACHER: State still awaiting records to confirm plane crash victim's fate.

A woman's body found in Cook Inlet late last week was tentatively identified as that of Florida schoolteacher Pamela Hawthorne, one of two passengers aboard the small plane that disappeared June 25 while flying from Hallo Bay to Homer, Alaska State Troopers said Tuesday.

The state medical examiner, who performed a preliminary autopsy on the body Tuesday morning, is awaiting medical and dental records for making a positive identification.

However, the presumption is that the body is Hawthorne's, troopers spokesman Greg Wilkinson said.

The autopsy determined the woman drowned.

Hawthorne, 58, was from suburban Lake Worth, Fla. Her family has been notified, troopers said.

Hawthorne was a fifth-grade teacher at Discovery Key Elementary School in Lake Worth.

Her husband, James Hawthorne, a 61-year-old teacher at Palm Beach Mall Academy in West Palm Beach, Fla., and who was aboard the same flight, remains missing, as does pilot Albert Novak, 62, of Palmer.

The three left Hallo Bay Bear Lodge, north of Hallo Bay, about 2:30 p.m. June 25 bound for Homer, some 110 miles away, or a flight of about an hour's length. They never arrived, and a search began almost immediately.

Despite a search of almost 7,000 square miles, no sign of the Cessna 180 has been found.

The woman's body, found Thursday, was recovered in Cook Inlet near Anchor Point, troopers said. A family fishing for salmon saw the body floating face down in the water and brought it to troopers in Homer.

Pamela Hawthorne's school places an emphasis on science, said its principal, Stephen Sills. Hawthorne and her husband are known for taking summer vacations to exotic locales like Thailand, Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands, according to the Palm Beach Post.

They participated in activities like swimming with sharks, the paper said.

Pamela Hawthorne always brought back stories and photographs of her adventures to show to her students, who listened raptly, Sills said.

Novak was a retired Northwest Airlines pilot who had accumulated more than 35,000 hours in all kinds of aircraft, according to Clint Hlebechuk, owner of the lodge.

The pilot owned an air taxi service, Hallo Bay Air, that brought clients to the lodge, a wilderness and naturalist camp.

Novak's Cessna 180 had recently received a checkup from the Federal Aviation Administration and had gotten a perfect mark, Hlebechuk said.

The Associated Press contributed to this story. Daily News reporter Peter Porco can be reached at