Daniel Salmon, 02-27-08

Crash kills assemblyman DANIEL SALMON: Lake and Peninsula Borough leader was an experienced pilot.

By JAMES HALPIN, jhalpin@adn.com | jhalpin@adn.com

Published: February 29th, 2008

A prominent rural borough official flying his private plane home from Anchorage died when his aircraft crashed near Tyonek, according to Alaska State Troopers.

Daniel Salmon, 49, was the sole occupant of the 1953 Cessna 170 that went down Wednesday afternoon, according to the Federal Aviation Administration. Salmon, a Lake and Peninsula Borough assemblyman as well as the village administrator in Igiugig, later died from his injuries at an Anchorage hospital.

"It's devastating to the whole area, not just the community, but the entire region," said borough Mayor Glen Alsworth Sr. "Our greatest concern now is for his wife and children and getting them through this."

Salmon had departed Merrill Field in his aircraft early Wednesday afternoon heading to his home in Igiugig, a village about 50 miles northeast of King Salmon. The Cessna went down near Granite Point, about eight miles west of Tyonek, Alsworth said.

Troopers were notified of an emergency locator transmission about 4:20 p.m. and shortly thereafter contacted the Rescue Coordination Center, which deployed aircraft from the Civil Air Patrol, troopers spokeswoman Megan Peters said.

Salmon's family reported him missing a short time later, said Spc. Margaret Moonin, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Military and Veterans Affairs.

Because of poor conditions in the area, the Civil Air Patrol couldn't get in and an Air National Guard HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopter was deployed to the scene, where its crew found and picked up Salmon, Moonin said.

He was airlifted to Providence Alaska Medical Center, where he died, Peters said.

Few details were immediately available as to what caused the plane to go down in the area across Cook Inlet and about 43 miles southwest of Anchorage. A National Transportation Safety Board investigator was on the scene Thursday examining the wreckage, which was substantially damaged. He could not be reached for comment.

Alsworth described Salmon as an experienced pilot with extensive flying experience. He had owned the plane for several years, he said.

Salmon also has a long history of helping the community and being a dedicated, hard-working family man, Alsworth said.

His three-year term as assemblyman would have ended in November.

"It's often said that when a great man passes on, he leaves a hole to fill," Alsworth said. "In Dan Salmon's passing, I judge it to be more like a huge crater."
Find James Halpin online at adn.com/contact/jhalpin or call him at 257-4589.