NATIONAL NEWS

Bodies of Air Force colonel and Utah man are recovered after their plane crashed in an Alaska lake

Jun 21, 2024, 9:09 AM

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The bodies of two men, including a U.S. Air Force colonel who served as director of operations for the Alaskan Command, have been recovered after their small plane plunged into an Alaska lake.

The plane was found Thursday about 193 feet (59 meters) deep in Crescent Lake, on Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula about 100 miles (161 kilometers) south of Anchorage.

Volunteers with the Alaska Air National Guard and( the Alaska Dive Search, Rescue and Recovery Team used a remote vehicle to float the Piper PA-18 Super Cub and tow it to shore, Alaska Wildlife Troopers said in an online statement.

The bodies of both Col. Mark “Tyson” Sletten, 46, of Anchorage, and Paul Kondrat, 41, of Salt Lake City, were inside the plane. They have been sent to the state medical examiner’s office for autopsies.

The National Transportation Safety Board will investigate the cause of the crash.

“The news has been devastating for all of us here at Alaskan Command and the loss of Tyson is being felt throughout our community,” Lt. Gen. David Nahom said in a statement. “Right now, our priority is taking care of his family and our teammates that were close to Tyson.”

The Alaskan Command, located at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Anchorage, conducts homeland defense missions, civil support and security.

The two men were on an instructional flight Tuesday when the plane crashed. An Alaska Department of Public Safety helicopter and U.S. Fish and Wildlife float plane found debris on the lake but no signs of survivors. Recovery efforts started Wednesday.

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Bodies of Air Force colonel and Utah man are recovered after their plane crashed in an Alaska lake