Unknown, 8/17/03

Pilot, passenger missing after North Slope crash
PEARD BAY: Air taxi headed to Wainwright; search suspended.

By KATIE PESZNECKER, Anchorage Daily News, August 18, 2003

Two people were missing Sunday after a small plane crashed into Peard Bay on the Arctic Ocean, about 10 miles southwest of Barrow.

Gordon Bliss, an operations officer with the Federal Aviation Administration, said the crash was reported to FAA officials just before 2 p.m. The F406 -- the French version of a Cessna -- was en route from Barrow to Wainwright. The plane was an air taxi chartered to carry mail and freight, Bliss said.

The National Weather Service reported patches of fog and isolated spots of drizzle and light rain between Barrow and Wainwright, with temperatures in the mid-30s and northeast wins up to 15 mph.

The North Slope Borough Search and Rescue looked for the plane's pilot and passenger but had suspended the search by early evening.

"At this time, (we're saying) they're missing," Bliss said. "Nobody wants to jump to that assumption there's fatals. If someone has survival suits onboard -- well, they don't want to jump to that conclusion."

The names of the pilot and passenger were not released late Sunday. The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating.

Daily News reporter Katie Pesznecker can be reached at kpesznecker@adn.com.