BUTTE , Alaska, Oct. 31 (UPI) -- A Wasilla, Alaska, man died when his small plane crashed into a gravel bar on the Knik River near Anchorage, police said.
The Alaska State Troopers said they were alerted to the incident Saturday afternoon near the town of Butte, and found the sole occupant of the Cessna 172 plane, Ray Justen, 25, dead at the scene. His body was airlifted to the state medical examiner's office.
Clint Johnson, Alaska National Transportation Safety Board chief, traveled to the scene Sunday and said "Witnesses said this airplane came in, made a touch-and-go on a gravel bar and during a fairly steep climb out there was an aerodynamic stall. The airplane descended nose-first and struck the gravel bar," the Anchorage Daily News reported, adding winds in the area at the time of the crash were described as gusty.
The pilot's brother and friends were in the area in four-wheel-drive vehicles on Saturday, watching the plane fly. They confirmed Justen was the only person aboard the plane.