WASILLA — A pair of Valley men are dead following a plane crash in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, Canada, Monday night.
Jeff Babcock and Charles Eric Benson both died in the crash. Both were Alaska-based employees for the National Park Service, according to a press released issued Tuesday evening. Babcock and Benson were on a personal trip, flying the plane from the Lower 48 to Anchorage. The plane crashed shortly after take-off at about 5:30 p.m. Monday at the Whitehorse International Airport, according to NPS officials.
“Jeff and Eric were two of our very best and the National Park Service and Alaska Region have suffered a terrible loss,” NPS Alaska Regional Director Bert Frost said in the release. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of Jeff and Eric, and we are heartbroken.”
Prior to joining the park service, Babcock served for 23 years with the Alaska State Troopers, and retired as a captain in the Alaska Wildlife Troopers in 2004. He also flew for K2 Aviation for seven years, park service officials said.
Benson served for a combined 25 years in both the U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force. Benson joined NPS after retiring from the military, NPS officials said.