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Plane crashes on Kenai Peninsula, killing 2 men

Published:Sunday | August 23, 2015 | 11:04 PM

ALASKA

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) -- Two men died Saturday night when a small plane crashed on the Kenai Peninsula, said Alaska State Troopers.

Troopers identified the men Sunday as pilot Brian Nolan, 69, and his Peter Lahndt, 57, both of Kasilof. The Cessna 180, owned by Nolan, crashed on Cohoe Loop Road near Cook Inlet in Kasilof.

Trooper spokeswoman Beth Ipsen said troopers learned about the crash shortly after 8 p.m. and were on the scene by late Saturday.

"It's not a survivable accident," said Clint Johnson of the National Transportation Safety Board, which is investigating the accident. "There was a post-crash fire."

Several trees had scorch marks and debris from the crash was scattered over more than 30 feet in a heavily wooded area about 150 feet from the road, according to the Peninsula Clarion. The tops of some trees had been taken off by the impact.

Kasilof resident Dan Brown told the Peninsula Clarion he lives near the crash site and was the first one on the scene after hearing a bang and seeing a smoke plume.

Brown said he tried to get close to the wreckage while his daughter called 911.

It was burning when I got to it, and I couldn't get the guy out. I tried," said Brown, who described flames spreading rapidly from the plane. "I knew there was no hope of getting in there, so I walked two circles around that thing to see if there was anyone that was ejected out of it."

But he didn't find anyone.

Brown said the first fire truck showed up about 10 minutes after the 911 call. By that time, he said, the wreckage was popping and shooting debris.

"Stuff was flying everywhere," he said.

The Kenai crash is the seventh fatal plane crash in Alaska this year, according to an NTSB database analyzed by the Alaska Dispatch News.

In 2014, there were three fatal plane crashes and one fatal helicopter crash.