Texan, Kodiak resident were the two who died in Old Harbor plane crash

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The names of the two people who died as a result of the Kodiak Island plane crash on July 2 have been positively identified as:

  • 91-year-old Byron Chitwood of Greenville, Texas
  • 73-year-old Rodney Murdock of Kodiak

Alaska State Troopers recovered their bodies on July 3 and sent them to the State Medical Examiner for autopsy and positive identification.

Chitwood was the former mayor of Greenville, Texas, and had also served on the city council of the community about 50 miles north of Dallas. His two sons were seriously injured in the crash, which occurred when they were returning from their annual fishing trip to Alaska.

Chitwood was a member of the Rotary Club, Hunt County Master Gardeners and Hunt County Shared Ministries/FISH. According to the Herald Banner online news website, Chitwood was a veteran of the U.S. Navy and will be buried in the military cemetery in Grand Prairie, next to his wife, who passed away in July 2020.

Murdock owned an appliance repair business in Kodiak and was returning to Kodiak from working at Old Harbor, sources told Must Read Alaska.

The three who survived the crash were seriously injured had been medevaced off the island for advanced care after the Piper PA-32-300 operated by Vertigo Air Taxi crashed in mountainous area about three miles north of Old Harbor.

Photo credit: Alaska Municipal League

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