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Bad weather may have caused crash

ANCHORAGE (AP) — A southeast Alaskan pilot had told family members the weather might be bad before his single-engine plane was found crashed, a report said.

An investigation began after the July 11 crash killed 68-year-old Wrangell pilot and attorney Michael Nash, the Anchorage Daily News reported Friday.

Nash was headed to Wrangell, Alaska, from Friday Harbor, Washington, after an annual inspection of his PA-24 Comanche aircraft, the National Transportation Safety Board said.

Nash told family members he had six hours of fuel and was planning to stop in Ketchikan to refill because it was cheaper, but that the forecast wasn't looking good, investigators said.

The pilot told controllers in Ketchikan that he was on approach to a runway at the airport, investigators said.

"The accident pilot then reported that he 'was hung up'" investigator Noreen Price said. "There were no further communications received by the pilot."

The Ketchikan Volunteer Rescue Squad, Ketchikan police, Alaska State Troopers, U.S. Coast Guard and local operators searched for about two hours for Nash when he was about three hours overdue to land, officials said.

Nash crashed into the side of an 800-foot hill on Gravina Island a few miles south of Ketchikan International Airport, a report said.

The weather at the airport had been windy and overcast with scattered clouds, investigators said.