9 passengers dead in Alaska air taxi crash were from S.C.

07/08/2013 2:35 PM

07/08/2013 2:48 PM

The nine passengers who died in the fiery crash of an air taxi at the Soldotna Municipal Airport on Sunday are all from South Carolina, the Alaska State Troopers said Monday.

The pilot, Walter Rediske, from Nikiski, was also killed in the crash.

Rediske was scheduled to take guests to a Lake Clark bear viewing lodge on Sunday, the owner of the lodge said.

"We did have a flight scheduled with him," said Mac McGahan, who co-owns the Bear Mountain Lodge on Chinitna Bay, at the southern end of Lake Clark National Park.

"Willie was a great pilot and a friend and we're going to miss him dearly," McGahan said. "Our thoughts and prayers are with those affected by this tragedy."

Planes land on a small strip at the lodge property as well as on the beach, McGahan said.

The state medical examiner was still working to positively identify the remains of the victims Monday, troopers said. Police have said no names will be released until next-of-kin notifications have been made.

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