“Victims Identified in Kodiak Island Plane Crash: Rodney Murdock and Byron Chitwood”

By | July 8, 2023



Two individuals have been identified as the victims of a tragic plane crash on Kodiak Island in Alaska. The Alaska State Troopers have confirmed that Rodney Murdock, a 73-year-old resident of Kodiak, and Byron Chitwood, a 91-year-old resident of Texas, lost their lives in the accident.

Murdock was the owner of Alpha Appliance Repair, a business he established in Kodiak in 2013. Plans for a celebration-of-life ceremony for Murdock are currently being organized by City Mayor Pat Branson. Chitwood, on the other hand, had previously served as mayor and city council member in Greenville, Texas.

The crash occurred when a Piper PA-32-300 aircraft operated by Vertigo Air Taxi crashed in shallow, mountainous terrain, injuring three other individuals on board. The passengers were returning from the Kodiak Sportsman’s Lodge in Old Harbor to Kodiak when the accident took place. The injured survivors were airlifted by the Coast Guard to the Kodiak Airport and then transferred to medical facilities for treatment.

Old Harbor, located on the southeast coast of Kodiak Island, is approximately 70 miles southwest of the city of Kodiak. The identities of the other individuals involved in the crash have not been publicly disclosed, but it has been reported that Chitwood’s two sons were also seriously injured. Chitwood’s granddaughter has confirmed that they are still hospitalized as of Thursday.

Authorities are currently working to retrieve the wreckage of the aircraft as weather conditions permit. The National Transportation Safety Board’s Alaska office is leading the investigation into the cause of the crash. An NTSB investigator reached the crash site via helicopter and conducted an on-scene investigation.

This is an ongoing story, and updates will be provided as more information becomes available..