Kenai, AK Commuter Plane Crashes, Dec 1987


Kenai, Alaska -- A commuter plane carrying eight people lost power in one of its two engines after takeoff today and crashed into a house, killing five passengers and the pilot, officials said.
An elderly couple who lived in the house escaped out the front door before a fire sparked by the crash destroyed the dwelling, the authorities said.
PAUL STEUCKE, a spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration, said the pilot of the plane, a Piper Navajo operated by Southcentral Air, reported an engine failure after taking off from the Kenai Airport and circled to attempt an emergency landing. The plane went down a half mile from the airport about 6:10 A.M.
Southcentral Air runs several flights daily between Anchorage and Kenai Peninsula communities 70 miles away.
The survivors of the crash, DONALD SPURGEON, 40 years old, of Kenai, and JERRY HUFF, 31, of Soldotna, were admitted to Providence Hospital in Anchorage with burns and other injuries.
MR. SPURGEON and three of those killed were Arco Alaska Inc. employees on their way to Anchorage to make a connection for the Kuparuk oil field on the North Slope, said BARBARA BRITCH, a company spokeswoman. She identified the others as MR. SPURGEON'S brother, JIM SPURGEON, 38, of Nikiski; IRA GARNER, 55, of Kenai, and MARK AYERS, 33, of Kenai.

The New York Times New York 1987-12-24