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Airplane Crash Into Frozen Alaska River, Killing 2

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An airplane crash that hit an Alaska river shortly after taking off from Fairbanks International Airport on Tuesday killed both people on board, authorities said.

Alaska State Troopers said in a statement that a Douglas DC-4 aircraft took off at 9:55 a.m., and crashed into the frozen Tanana River about seven miles south of the airport minutes later.

"The aircraft slid into a steep hill on the bank of the river where it caught fire," the agency said.

Multiple agencies responded to the scene, but no survivors were located. The fire spread to the tree line along the river, and burned for several hours before firefighters extinguished it.

The Federal Aviation Administration identified the aircraft as a Douglas C-54, a military model of the DC-4 first commissioned during World War II. The agency said the plane crashed under unknown circumstances, and was destroyed.

The aircraft, operated by Alaska Air Fuel, was transporting fuel at the time of the crash, per reports.

The National Transportation Safety Board and the FAA are investigating the crash.

Story by TMX

Challenges of Small Planes

Compared to their larger commercial cousins, small airplanes operate under a different set of rules and regulations.

They may lack the technology and systems found in commercial jets, making them more susceptible to pilot error, weather and environmental factors, and mechanical issues.

Pilot training and experience also play a critical role in small plane safety. Pilots must hold a Commercial Pilot's License (CPL), demonstrating a higher level of proficiency compared to private pilots. Maintaining currency through regular flight time and simulator training is crucial for pilots to stay sharp and prepared for unexpected situations.


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