Details of Disappearance
A Polish tour group of four, including Miernik, Janusz Intek
, Maria Libacka
, and Robert Sieniawski
, as well as their pilot, Craig Layson
, flew out of Talkeetna, Alaska on August 4, 2018 to go on a one-hour sightseeing tour of Denali National Park. Their plane, a single-engine de Havilland DHC-2 Beaver airplane with the tail number N323KT, owned by K2 Aviation, never returned.
The plane was supposed fly over some glaciers and Denali Base Camp, then return to the airport at Talkeetna. The plane flew over the base camp at approximately 5:45 p.m. A short time later, its GPS satellite tracker suddenly stopped moving; it had crashed, and came to rest in ice and snow in a crevasse high on a knife-edge ridge of Thunder Mountain, at almost 11,000 feet latitude and about fourteen miles from the summit of Mount Denali.
Layson was able to make two calls by satellite phone in the hour after the crash, reporting he was trapped in the wreckage of the crashed plane and there were at least two fatalities, but both calls were quickly cut off. It's unclear how many people besides the pilot survived the initial crash. The plane was equipped with a first-aid kit, sleeping bags, a stove and a pot for boiling water.
Two days later, a search plane was able to locate the wreckage and lowered a National Park Service ranger onto the site for a few minutes. He located four bodies, but couldn't find the fifth. Four days later, another ranger was able to visit the site and found the fifth body in the back of the plane; no one had made it out of the wreckage.
Authorities were unable to recover anything at that time due to weather conditions, and by April 2019, park rangers discovered the plane was no longer in its original position. The wreckage, and the bodies of the five crash victims, have not been seen since.