Recovery of Alaska plane wreckage on hold due to bad weather

Efforts to recover the wreckage of a sightseeing plane that crashed in southeast Alaska last week, killing six people, remained on hold Monday as investigators awaited a break in poor weather conditions, a National Transportation Safety Board official said.

Clint Johnson, chief of the agency’s Alaska region, said low clouds and fog continued to delay wreckage recovery efforts.

"They are ready to go as soon as they get a weather window," he said of the team that will handle the work.

The wreckage is in a rugged, steep area that is heavily forested, at 1,800 feet (549 meters) to 2,000 feet (610 meters) "up on the side of a mountain," he said. The site is about 12 miles (19 miles) northeast of the city of Ketchikan, Johnson said.

Investigators planned to continue conducting interviews in the case, he said.

The flight was returning to Ketchikan on Thursday from a tour of Misty Fjords National Monument when it crashed, Johnson said.

The plane carried five passengers and the pilot. The Alaska State Troopers identified the pilot as Rolf Lanzendorfer, 64, of Cle Elum, Washington.

Troopers identified the passengers as Mark Henderson, 69, and Jacquelyn Komplin, 60, both of Napa, California; Andrea McArthur, 55, and Rachel McArthur, 20, both of Woodstock, Georgia; and Janet Kroll, 77, of Mount Prospect, Illinois.

The troopers reported Saturday that the bodies had been recovered.

Holland America Line confirmed the five passengers had been traveling on the company’s ship Nieuw Amsterdam, which was nearing the end of seven-day Alaska cruise.

Sightseeing excursions, such as those to Misty Fjords National Monument, are among the options for cruise passengers stopping in Ketchikan to explore the area while they are off the ship.

The cruise line said the excursion the passengers were on was not sold by Holland America Line.

The flight operator, Southeast Aviation, released a statement Thursday saying it was cooperating with the agencies involved.

"All of us share in the anguish of this tragic incident, and our prayers go out to all affected," the statement said.

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