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The National Park Service has halted recovery efforts of the victims of a flightseeing
plane crash in Denali National Park

The search for five people onboard a flightseeing plane out of Talkeetna has been put on pause because of weather.

It’s now been more than 72 hours since the plane crashed on Kahiltna glacier inside Denali National Park.

But survivors and their rescuers are facing challenges.

Search and rescue crews return to the Talkeetna airport- their mission, again, unsuccessful.

A flight seeing plane from K2 Aviation crashed early Saturday night, near the summit of what’s known as Thunder Mountain, at an elevation of nearly 11,000 feet.

“The pilot was able to make a satellite phone call to K2 Aviation, he did report some injuries, he made another phone call about an hour later at 7pm, and the is the last known communication anyone has had with the pilot,” says Katherine Belcher of the National Park Center.

The National Park Center is one of the agencies involved in the search, along with the alaska air national guard, the U.S. Army, and Alaska state troopers.

Search organizers say the the plane had likely been on its way back to the airport when the crash took place. Because of the altitude, any rescue will have to come by air.

“It’s a very tricky terrain up there, it’s basically a sheer vertical cliff, lots of ice, lots of snow, lots of rock.”

Each of these planes is equipped with survival gear, including food, sleeping bags, a pot, and a stove. But, what the pilot and his four passengers really need right now is, better weather.

“Unfortunately it’s zero visibility, and very low cloud cover, so, our search crews have been visually unable to locate the crash site. We know approximately where it is, but, we just haven’t been able to put eyes on it.”

Search crews return to Talkeetna not empty-handed, but, they did not carry the most precious cargo they had hoped to find.

“It’s a really dangerous spot, steep, over, overhanding, you couldn’t climb there at this time of the year, the plane is also in a crevasse on the side of a mountain.”

(KTVA for CBS News)

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