Four Port Alsworth residents died last December when a plane crashed into Lake Clark. The community gathered this week to remember those who died and to support their surviving friends and family.
The Port Alsworth community gathered Thursday for a walk and bonfire in memorial to those who died in a fatal airplane crash one year ago.
Scott Blom and his two children, Zach Blom, 13, and Kaitlyn Blom, 14, were on their way to Anchorage, where Tanalian School was competing in the Mixed Six Volleyball State Championship. Private pilot, 25-year-old Kyle Longerbeam rented the single engine Piper PA-28 Cherokee from Lake Clark Air to make the trip.
The four took off from Port Alsworth the morning of December 7, 2016, but they never arrived in Anchorage. Authorities believe that the plane went down in Lake Clark, killing all onboard. The plane and bodies were not recovered.
The loss was devastating to the tightknit community of about 150 people. The community came together Thursday in remembrance.
“They were all outdoor people,” said Matthew Grossman, a teacher at Tanalian School who helped organize the memorial. “As a student, I remember Zach, he always wanted to be outside rather than in the classroom. So we thought of a community walk—just to remember, to share stories, to celebrate their life.”
Caleb Alsworth is a ninth grader at Tanalian School and president of the student council. He said that as students have processed the tragedy of losing classmates this year, they’ve done it together.
“It’s definitely hard. There is grieving and it’s sad, but we have hope that we’re going to see them again. We know that they’re in heaven right now and we’re going to see them when our time comes. But we’ve all been there for each other and been with each other and really went through it all together,” said Alsworth.
Grossman said Longerbeam and the Bloms’ passing has left a big hole in the community. The memorial walk was also an expression of support for the family they left behind.
Conditions on the day of the crash were reported to be limited visibility, but the National Transportation and Safety Board has not determined an official cause of the accident.
Contact the author at email@example.com or 907-842-2200.