At about 06:30 Alaska daylight time, a ski-equipped Piper PA-18 collided with snow-covered terrain 33.5 miles west-northwest of Kotzebue. The pilot, who held an expired student pilot certificate, was killed. Passing villagers found the airplane inverted about one mile east of the coast near Cape Krusentern and notified the Alaska State Troopers office in Kotzebue at about 19:00. Family members said the pilot departed Kivalina about 05:30 with a load of whale meat after traveling to Kivalina the day before the accident. The weather conditions reported by villagers in the area of the accident included low ceilings, fog, and scattered snow showers.