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Posted on: July 15, 2022

City of Valdez News Release

22-0009 COV 07152022 News Release VFD assists with search of overdue aircraft

For immediate release: 7/15/2022, 9:00 a.m.

Valdez, AK – On July 13, 2022 Valdez Police and Fire Departments flew drones in a specified search area in support of the Alaska Rescue Coordination Center (AKRCC) effort to locate an overdue aircraft that left Valdez the evening of July 11, 2022. 

Throughout the incident Valdez Fire Department assisted AKRCC with coordination of local public sector resources in the continued search of the overdue aircraft. Valdez Fire Department Backcountry Search and Rescue Team were given assignments and were on standby when the aircraft wreckage was located.  

According to Alaska Department of Public Safety, State Troopers Daily Dispatch, On July 14, 2022 at approximately 2:15 p.m., an Alaska Army National Guard HH-60 Black Hawk helicopter and crew located the aircraft wreckage and deceased pilot at the top of Thompson Pass about 1,000 feet off the Richardson Highway. Alaska State Troopers arrived on scene and positively identified the deceased pilot as Andy Andersen, age 38 of Sutton. The body was recovered from the site and will be taken to the State Medical Examiner’s Office. Next of Kin has been notified. NTSB will investigate the cause of the crash.

On 7/11/2022 at 8:21 pm, Alaska State Troopers received a report of an overdue aircraft with one person on board out of Valdez and notified the Alaska Rescue Coordination Center (AKRCC). The red and white Aeronca Champion aircraft, tail number N4340C is believed to be piloted by Andy Andersen, age 38 of Sutton. Anderson was reported to have left Valdez around 5pm on 7/11/2022 en route to Sutton with an expected arrival time of 6:30 pm. Agencies involved are AKRCC, Civil Air Patrol (CAP), US Coast Guard, Alaska State Troopers, and Alaska Army National Guard assets. SAR efforts have been hampered due to poor weather conditions and air assets are searching as weather permits.


Contact: Ana Hinkle, communications director, or 907.834-3400

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