Howard Holtan, 09-22-07

Pilot was city employee
PRINCE WILLIAM SOUND: Cessna wreck left wife hospitalized.

The Associated Press

Published: September 24, 2007

A man who was killed and a woman who was severely injured in a plane crash near Prince William Sound were an Anchorage couple, Alaska State Troopers said Sunday.

Howard Holtan, the 61-year-old pilot, died in the crash Saturday afternoon near Lake Shrode. His wife, Roberta Carney, 47, was taken to Providence Alaska Medical Center in Anchorage.

A nursing supervisor at the hospital said Carney did not want any information about her condition released.

Holtan was the director of project management and engineering for the city of Anchorage, said city manager Denis LeBlanc.

He'd worked off and on for the city for 16 years, and advised the mayor and city manager on projects from local roads to the new convention center.

"We looked to him to guidance for anything that we would construct," LeBlanc said.

He described Holtan as a "remarkable man" and "true gentleman" who had a hand in all the city's construction projects.

"If you needed to build it, you went to Howard and he got it done," LeBlanc said.

The couple had been flying from lake to lake on a day excursion, said trooper Sgt. Bryan Barlow.

A pilot friend from Anchorage was flying another plane along with them and called for a search when he couldn't raise them on the radio or see their Cessna 180 floatplane, Barlow said. The friend did not want his name released, Barlow said.

Hikers in the area saw the plane go down shortly after takeoff and they radioed a nearby boat, according to the Alaska Air National Guard.

A Coast Guard helicopter crew in the area rescued the woman and flew her to Anchorage. Holtan's body was recovered by rescuers with the Guard.

There were no other people on board the plane.

The cause of the crash is unknown, Barlow said. The National Transportation Safety Board has been notified and will investigate, he said.