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AK: Two killed while scouting for hunting season

August 26, 2010

2 found dead in plane wreckage near Mount Susitna 

A small plane headed from Anchorage to an Iditarod Trail hunting lodge crashed nose-first into a Susitna River sandbar Tuesday night, killing the pilot and passenger, safety investigators said Wednesday.

The accident likely came at about 7:45 p.m. Tuesday, about an hour after the two-seat Piper PA-11 left Lake Hood, according to a flight plan filed by the pilot. A friend says the pair may have been on the lookout for moose, in preparation for the fall hunting season. The plane struck level terrain near Mount Susitna, about 30 miles northwest of Anchorage, said National Transportation Safety Board investigator Josh Cawthra.

...

Safety investigators said the pilot and passenger had planned to travel to Rainy Pass Lodge and -- according to early interviews -- were on the lookout for moose.

"They were probably scoping some options out for this fall's moose hunting," said Anchorage photographer Matt Hage, a friend of Reiley and mountain climbing partner of another man who friends fear was the passenger on the plane. The pair were expected back in Anchorage for a barbecue Tuesday night, Hage said.

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