An Alkan Air Cessna 208 Caravan, similar to the one pictured, crashed Aug. 6 after leaving Rackla, Yukon. Both the pilot and single passenger on board died. (Alkan Air website)

Whitehorse pilot, Vancouver geologist killed after plane crashes south of Keno

Shawn Thomas Kitchen, 24, and Julia Lane, 33, were killed after their Alkan Air plane crashed Aug. 6

A Whitehorse pilot and a Vancouver geologist are dead after their small Alkan Air plane crashed near Mayo Lake, south of Keno City, on Aug. 6.

The plane took off from Rackla at 11 a.m., according to press releases from airline and the Yukon Coroner’s Service, but was reported missing at 12:08 p.m.

Rackla is a mining airstrip located about 150 kilometres northeast of Mayo.

The aircraft was en-route to Mayo.

A fly-over located the plane on the north side of Mayo Lake, south of Keno City and about 20 minutes by air from Mayo, around 1:30 p.m.

Twenty-four-year-old Shawn Thomas Kitchen, from Whitehorse, and 33-year-old Julia Lane, from Vancouver, were killed in the crash.

Kitchen was piloting the aircraft, the Yukon Coroner’s Service said Aug. 7, while Lane, a managing partner at geological consulting firm Archer, Cathro and Associates, had been working in the Rackla area.

Lane is also listed as the vice president of exploration on the website of exploration company ATAC Resources Ltd., which operates the Rackla Gold Property.

“Our hearts go out to everyone that is involved,” Alkan Air said in its Aug. 6 press release, adding that it was a “truly a heartbreaking time” at the airline.

“We appreciate your patience and we will (provide) you (an) update (when) additional information is gathered.”

Yukon Premier Sandy Silver also issued a statement the morning of Aug. 7 saying he was “deeply saddened” by the tragedy.

“On behalf of all Yukoners, we offer our sincere condolences to the families and friends of the pilot and passenger who were on board, as well as Alkan Air and Yukon’s aviation and mining communities, who have suffered an immeasurable loss as a result of this accident,” Silver said in the statement.

“…We will provide all the support necessary to help the investigation into the cause of this accident, and work with our partners across the territory to prevent a similar event from happening in the future.”

Transportation Safety Board of Canada spokesperson Alexandre Fournier confirmed in an interview Aug. 6 that the federal agency is aware of the crash and is planning to deploy a team to the area “once the aircraft is recovered.”

Fournier said that the aircraft is currently “on the side of a mountain.”

The Alkan Air press release says the company is “currently working with emergency response personnel and local authorities to access the site.”

Contact Jackie Hong at jackie.hong@yukon-news.com

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