The Alaska State Troopers helicopter flight that ended in the death of three people near Talkeetna was supposed to be little more than a five-minute trip.
Troopers officials on Monday identified the pilot as longtime trooper rescue pilot Mel Nading, 55, of Anchorage. Nading had flown countless missions since becoming the agency's primary helicopter pilot in 2000, troopers said. He was attempting to deliver an injured snowmachiner to nearby medics when the aircraft crashed Saturday night in the lakeside trees.
Also killed in the crash were Talkeetna-based trooper Tage Toll, a former Kansas state highway patrolman, and snowmachiner Carl Ober, 56, of Talkeetna.
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Coming less than two weeks after a state-trained village public safety officer was shot to death in the Bristol Bay region, the crash underscores another risk Alaska law enforcement faces: routinely flying missions in all conditions across the state.
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