NTSB releases preliminary report on Anchor Point plane crash

The Dec. 8 crash killed 2

An airplane was seen inverted and spinning before it crashed near the Sterling Highway on Dec. 8, a preliminary report from the National Transportation Safety Board released Wednesday says.

The airplane — a two-seat Piper Super Cub — crashed around 1:15 p.m. in Anchor Point, killing pilot Kurt St. Jean, and critically injuring the passenger, Kristen Fenske. A CaringBridge site established for Fenske reported that Fenske died last week from injuries sustained during the crash.

The NTSB report says a friend of the pilot, who knew the planned itinerary, said the plane took off from a private airstrip near King Salmon and was expected to fly toward Chinitna Bay before crossing Cook Inlet to Anchor Point and ultimately landing in Homer.

Investigators reviewed footage from a vehicle dash camera that showed the plane “in an inverted flat spin before disappearing behind trees,” but does not show what caused the plane to be inverted and spinning. The same video also shows that the plane’s left wing was folded down as the plane descended into brush.

A detailed examination of the wreckage is still pending, the report says, but two investigators from NTSB’s Alaska Regional Office found the plane’s left wing partially attached and its fuselage twisted during an inspection of the wreckage on Dec. 9. The board has designated the crash as warranting a class 3 investigation, which seeks to identify the safety issues that may have caused the accident.

As reported previously by the Homer News, multiple units from Western Emergency Services and Alaska State Trooper were the first to respond to the scene. The crash and subsequent response resulted in a partial closure of the Sterling Highway.

A GoFundMe page established for Fenske and St. Jean, as of Friday around 6:30 p.m., had raised more than $42,000 for the couple’s medical and funeral expenses.

Reach reporter Ashlyn O’Hara at ashlyn.ohara@peninsulaclarion.com.