Alaska State Troopers release names of victims in helicopter crash

Alaska State Troopers say a veteran pilot, a Talkeetna-based trooper and a rescued snowmachiner died when an AST helicopter crashed Saturday night. Alaska’s Department of Public Safety Commissioner tentatively identified the dead as 50-year-old pilot Mel Nading, 40-year-old trooper Tage Toll and 56-year-old Talkeetna man Carl Ober.

Positive confirmation of their identities has yet to be made, pending examination of remains recovered from the crash site.

Asked Monday about the impact of losing those on board Helo-1, A S T Director Colonel Keith Mallard said the loss is like losing family.

The events leading to the crash began shortly after 7:30 p.m. Saturday, when Palmer troopers received a report that Ober was stranded while snowmachining near Larson Lake around 7:35 p.m.

Nading took off in Helo-1, picking up Toll before heading out to the search area.

Ober was found at about 10 p.m., and picked up, and the last contact with the pilot came about an hour later.

A search and rescue effort was started after contact with Helo-1 was lost and the crash site was found about 9:30 Sunday morning

The  National Transportation Safety Board says investigators are being flown in from the Lower 48 to investigate the crash