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Troopers say no survivors found at plane crash on bank of Tanana River with 2 aboard

Alaska State Troopers
Smoke rises from the site of Tuesday morning's plane crash along the Tanana River west of Fairbanks.

Update, 2 p.m. Tuesday:

Alaska State Troopers say responders have not found any survivors after a plane crashed Tuesday near Fairbanks with two people aboard.


In an online update, Troopers said they received reports of the crash seven miles south of the Fairbanks International Airport shortly after 10 a.m. A preliminary investigation revealed that the Douglas DC-4 crashed into the Tanana River shortly after takeoff.

“The aircraft slid into a steep hill on the bank of the river where it caught fire,” the report said. “No survivors have been located.”

Numerous agencies responded to the scene including Troopers, Fairbanks Police and local fire departments.

Original story:

An eyewitness says he saw a large plane with an engine on fire flying over a nearby field just before it crashed Tuesday morning along the Tanana River west of Fairbanks.

A DC-4 like this crashed this morning near west of Fairbanks resembles this one.
A DC-4 like this crashed this morning near west of Fairbanks. The aircraft was introduced in the 1940s, and later versions were manufactured into the 1960s.

Alaska State Troopers say the Douglas DC-4 crashed near Kallenberg Road, and they asked people to avoid the area as emergency responders headed to the scene.

Authorities have not yet released much information about the crash, including how many people were aboard the four-engine propeller plane and what company was operating it. Douglas DC-4s are typically used for cargo flights.

Fairbanks International Airport spokesperson Zak Mitchell said the plane crashed shortly after it took off from the airport, between 10 a.m. and 10:30 a.m.

Mike Emers, owner of the Rosie Creek Farm in Ester across the Tanana from Fairbanks, said that he was at the farm Tuesday morning when he heard an explosion and looked out of a window.

“And right over the farm field, there was a four-engine plane — one of the engines was on fire,” Emers said. “Probably 10 seconds later, there was a big explosion that rocked the ground. And then explosions happened after that.”

Mike Emers is co-owner of Rosie Creek Farm
Rosie Creek Farm
Mike Emers is co-owner of Rosie Creek Farm

Emers said he used a ranchhand’s phone to report the crash to first 911, then troopers. After that, he and his son approached the crash site, at the base of a hillside near the river.

“There was a large flame right at the base of the hill,” he said. “There was debris all the way up the hill, maybe 100, 150 feet. Everything was torched there. The forest was on fire. And there were debris in the river, but it was very close to the shore. So if it did crash into the river, it crashed very close to the shore. Like I said there were debris all up the hillside.”

According to Emers, Troopers and other responders soon reached the scene by all-terrain vehicle and helicopter.

A video from near the crash site, taken by Emers, shows smoke and sporadic patches of flame rising from the hillside.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

Editor's note: KUAC reporters Robyne and Tim Ellis contributed to this story.