The Free Press, Mankato, MN

State, national news

July 8, 2013

NTSB: 10 killed in Alaska plane crash

(Continued)

For many Alaskans, flying across the state is common because of the limited road system, exposing residents to a litany of hazards including treacherous mountain passes and volatile weather. It's possible to drive from Anchorage to Soldotna, but it's about a four-hour trip as the highway hugs Turnagain Arm and then cuts through a mountain passage.

Soldotna was founded in 1947 by World War II veterans, who were given 90-day preference for homesteading rights in 1947, according to a state website. The city, now with a population of about 4,300, is on the banks of the Kenai River, and the area is busy this time of the year with people fishing for salmon.

Alaska has already seen a several plane crashes this year, including a June 28 crash that killed a pilot and two passengers on a commercial tour in the Alaska Range.

In another crash Saturday, two men had to swim to shore after their plane crashed in the waters off Kodiak Island. The small plane crashed after its engine sputtered out, and the men swam about 50 yards, the Kodiak Daily Mirror reported.

The Soldotna crash also comes a day after two teenagers were killed when the Asiana flight crashed at San Francisco's airport.

The municipal airport is located about a mile from Soldotna's commercial business area and is adjacent to the Kenai River, according to the city's website.

The runway is 5,000 foot long and paved.

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