780 AM | 96.1 FM | “Yours for Western Alaska”

Months After the Crash, Wreckage from Downed Cessna Still on Nome’s Tundra

Remains of a plane crash near Hastings Creek that occurred in March. Thomas Grainger was the lone passenger killed in the crash. Photo Credit: Davis Hovey, KNOM (2017)

After a Cessna plane with a single passenger crashed in Nome near Hastings Creek more than two months ago, the debris still remains strewn across the tundra.

Noreen Price with the National Transportation Safety Board says NTSB never takes possession of plane wreckage. Price was part of the team that investigated Thomas Grainger’s plane back in March, and she says the preliminary, onsite investigation was completed then. However, she adds the final report from the investigation won’t be available for at least a year.

According to Price, the authority to clean up what remains of the plane falls to Grainger’s insurance company or next of kin. Price says there was no insurance coverage on this plane, and none of Grainger’s next of kin wanted the plane.

Without any other parties involved to claim the wreckage, Price says the plane is now in the possession of Grainger’s estate owner. Bill Pearson is the attorney for Grainger’s estate. He says a local contractor has been hired.

“The status is the estate has transferred ownership of the plane and the salvaging responsibilities to a private third party,” Pearson stated.

As far as Pearson knows, this concludes his and the Grainger’s responsibility for the remnants of the plane.

Alaska State Troopers’ public information officer, Megan Peters, says AST also has no role in the plane clean-up. However, Peters confirmed that a sizable amount of marijuana was found in the wreckage of the plane during the first week of March, but Troopers are no longer investigating the case.

It is unclear when the un-named, local third party will finish removing the plane from the tundra. As of Memorial Day weekend, parts of the Cessna 172 were laying near the beach around Hastings Creek.