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Three Dead, Three Seriously Injured in Plane Crash Near Iliamna

September 1, 1993

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) _ A float plane from a fishing lodge crashed in a remote wooded area, killing three people and injuring three others, including the pilot.

The de Havilland Beaver crashed about 10 miles west of Iliamna shortly after takeoff Tuesday morning from Rainbow King Lodge, the Federal Aviation Administration said.

Alaska Air National Guard rescuers parachuted into the wooded area, and the survivors were hoisted into a Guard helicopter. Two were listed in critical condition.

The cause of the crash was not known.

″It looked like the right wing had clipped a tree and the plane had swung around,″ said Guard Lt. Col. Harry DeBruhl. ″The nose was resting on the ground but the tail was hung up in the trees.″

At least some of the people on the plane were guests at the lodge and were heading for a fishing trip at the time of the crash, said a lodge assistant manager who would not give his name.

Names of the dead were not immediately released. The three survivors were taken to Providence Hospital in Anchorage. Chuck Benz, 45, of Brookings, Ore., and Ira E. Cook, 66, of California, were in critical condition. Randy Toppen, 28, was in serious but stable condition. Cook’s and Toppen’s hometowns were not available.

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