- Associated Press - Thursday, August 13, 2015

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) - Two men who were in a small plane that crashed in Knik Arm are presumed dead according to a report released by the National Transportation Safety Board.

The pilot, 29-year-old Seth Fairbanks, and a passenger, 23-year-old Anthony Hooper, were heading for the Birchwood Airport when the plane crashed, KTVA-TV reported (http://bit.ly/1DNbyOu).

Fairbanks called state troopers just before midnight on Aug. 6. He told a dispatcher that he was standing on top of his plane, which crashed in the water too far for him to swim ashore. Emergency responders were searching the area about 20 minutes after Fairbanks called for help.

The plane was found, but the Air National Guard announced Saturday that it was suspending the search for Hooper and Fairbanks.

The report says it took about nine minutes for Fairbanks’s initial call for help to be redirected from Bethel, his hometown, to troopers who contacted a Wasilla dispatch center to coordinate the rescue.

Anchorage Director of Communications and Electronics Trygve Erickson says those nine minutes would likely have only had an impact on the rescue if a pilot had been sitting in a plane with big lights, ready to go right away.

“All things considered, it seems like the response was awfully fast,” Erickson said.

The cause of the crash is unclear.

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Information from: KTVA-TV, http://www.ktva.com

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