Air Force colonel identified as 1 of 2 men missing after small plane plunges into Alaskan lake

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — An Air Force colonel who is the director of operations for the Alaskan Command is one of the two men missing after a small airplane crashed into a remote lake, officials said Thursday.

Alaska Wildlife Troopers and the Alaskan Command identified the men as Col. Mark “Tyson” Sletten, 46, of Anchorage, and Paul Kondrat, 41, of Utah.

They were aboard a small airplane on an instructional flight that crashed into Crescent Lake near Moose Pass on Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula on Tuesday.

The Alaskan Command, located at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Anchorage, conducts homeland defense missions, civil support and security. It is part of the U.S. Northern Command.

A team from the Alaska Rescue Coordination Center that includes volunteers from the Alaska Dive, Search, Rescue, and Recovery Team were searching at the lake Thursday, troopers spokesperson Austin McDaniel said in an email. He said the team was using sonar, remotely operated vehicles and trained divers to search areas of interest previously identified in the lake, which is over 200 feet (61 meters) deep in some areas.

Two hikers had notified troopers that they saw a plane crash at Crescent Lake near Moose Pass on Tuesday afternoon.

An Alaska Department of Public Safety helicopter and U.S. Fish and Wildlife float plane went to the area and found debris on the lake but no signs of survivors in the water or on shore.

Moose Pass is about 100 miles (161 kilometers) south of Anchorage.

The Associated Press