'We're going to miss him' -- Girdwood community in mourning after fatal plane crash

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GIRDWOOD, Alaska (KTUU) - For twenty years, Karl Erickson was the life of neighborhood gatherings in Girdwood. On Sunday, he tragically passed away in a plane crash that killed four in the mountains near the town.

Chris von Imhof lives across the street from Erickson and regards him as a good friend and neighbor.

"Karl and their friends just celebrated their 55th birthday the day before, on Saturday, and were singing and having a wonderful time," von Imhof told Channel 2 Monday.

Von Imhof says the Girdwood community will have a difficult time saying goodbye to a long-standing member.

"We're going to miss him,” von Imhof said. “He has lots of good friends right in the neighborhood, and it's just a big shocker. I just hope we can have a good celebration of life."

Von Imhof is not the only one in mourning. Erickson worked for a company called Beacon, which provides safety services and training in high-risk occupations. The company released a statement Monday:

"Karl has been a valuable part of the Beacon family for a couple of years and has worked throughout Alaska on safety and rescue projects. We're all holding his family and friends in our hearts and prayers during this tragic time."

Karl Erickson is listed as the registered owner of the Piper PA-20 that went down on Sunday.

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