Cordova, AK Helicopter Crash, Jan 1983


Anchorage (AP) - Rescuers found one man dead and a second seriously injured Friday in the wreckage of a private helicopter which crashed near Cordova Thursday while on a mercy mission, the Air Force reported.
An Air Force spokesman, Lt. Ron McGee, said the wreckage of the craft was spotted by a Coast Guard helicopter which had to leave the scene just before landing because of flight control problems.
A helicopter operated by the Alaska State Troopers was sent to the crash site and found one of the occupants in the downed aircraft suffering major injuries and the other dead, McGee said.
He said the state aircraft picked up the injured man and then flew some five miles to rescue Gayle Ranney of Cordova, who was stranded with her Cessna 185 on an ice floe in the Copper River.
The crashed helicopter was en route to rescue Ranney when the pilot, GARY WILTROUT of Cordova, radioed that his engine had failed and he was going down. With WILTROUT was 1st Sgt. JOHN STIMSON of the state Fish and Wildlife Protection Division agent.
The troopers said the 41-year-old STIMSON was killed. He was the skipper of the Fish and Wildlife Protection Division patrol boat
"Enforcer," based at Cordova.
McGee said Ranney had not been injured in the emergency landing she made on the floe after she was forced down by mechanical problems while on a flight from Cordova to Cape Yakataga on Thursday.
The troopers said a ski on Ranney's plane apparently broke when she attempted to take off from the ice floe after the forced landing.
High winds and blowing snow stymied efforts to rescue Ranney and to locate the missing helicopter on Thursday, and gale-force winds and white-out conditions prevailed in the area on Friday.
McGee said the crashed helicopter was located about 5 p.m.

Daily Sitka Sentinel Alaska 1983-01-17