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Dale Hollow Marina

Ranger/pilot Tom O’Hara
Katmai National Park & Preserve

Ranger/pilot Tom O’Hara, 41, was killed on Friday, December 20, when his plane went down on the tundra east of Upper Ugashik Lake. His passenger, Corey Adler, 30, a biologist for the Fish and Wildlife Service, survived the crash and is hospitalized in Anchorage in stable condition. The two flew out of King Salmon on Thursday to conduct a moose tracking survey in Alaska Peninsula NWR.
When they failed to return in accordance with their flight plan, the Rescue Coordination Center dispatched an Alaska Air National Guard C-130 and a Coast Guard UH-60 helicopter to search for them. At first light on Friday, fourteen single-engine aircraft and a helicopter flew out of King Salmon in search efforts coordinated by the NPS, Fish and Wildlife Service and Alaska State Troopers. Most were piloted by volunteers and friends of Tom, who was a life-long resident of the Bristol Bay area. The crash site was found late in the afternoon, and Adler was evacuated to Naknek. A joint investigation is being conducted by state troopers and officials from NTSB, FAA and OAS.

Tom O’Hara had logged over 11,000 hours as a pilot in command. He had a dozen years of service as a commercial pilot in the Bristol area, and had provided aerial support for Katmai and Lake Clark NP’s, Alagnak Wild River, Aniakchak NM, and other Department of Interior agencies.

Tom was a dedicated employee, son, husband, father, and community member. His passions were his family, flying, and stewardship of the resources and lifestyle of rural Alaska. Tom was active in his community of Naknek-King Salmon where he grew up. He was the assistant wrestling coach for the junior high and high school team, and was active in his church at all levels, most notably flying children to bible camps. His co-workers describe him as energetic and exuberant. He provided a strong link between the residents of Bristol Bay and the National Park Service which will be missed. Tom is survived by his wife, Lucy, and their three young children.


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Final Report Regarding Jeff Christensen’s fatality
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Q&A Related to Jeff Christensen’s Accident
Jeff Christensen photos of Rocky Mountain Park while on patrol in July 2005




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