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By DAN JOLING
ANCHORAGE — The deaths of five people in an airplane crash in Alaska's Denali National Park were confirmed by a mountain ranger who flew to the site while hanging from a rope under a helicopter after the wreckage was spotted.
Ranger Chris Erickson was in the helicopter when the crew spotted the K2 Aviation sightseeing flight that crashed on a near-vertical mountainside.
To check out the wreckage more closely, the helicopter had to fly to a flat spot where Erickson could be lifted into the air hanging underneath the helicopter.
The helicopter then flew more than 2 miles (3.2 kilometers) at high altitude with him suspended back to the site.
Erickson had about five minutes at the site. He confirmed four people died and that the fifth also likely perished.