On Wednesday, a calm and quiet day in Alaska was interrupted when two small commercial planes collided, killing five people. The cause and circumstances surrounding the incident remain unknown, and authorities in the state continue to investigate. The crash occurred in a remote area in the western part of the state. The Alaska National Guard responded to the scene.
The collision, involving a Hageland Aviation Cessna 208 Caravan and Renfro’s Alaska Adventures Piper PA-19 Super Cub, occurred approximately 376 miles west of Anchorage, near a Yu’pik Eskimo village called Russian Mission. Both planes were for-hire, and each had one pilot on board.
FOX news reported that neither of the companies who own the planes were ready to comment publicly about the collision, or the identities of those on board. The crash occurred just before 11 a.m. Wednesday. Both planes had been reported as overdue at their expected destinations. Another aircraft spotted wreckage and debris in the area shortly thereafter. By noon, the Alaska Army National Guard sent a helicopter to investigate.
First responders to the scene confirmed that there were no survivors, according to NBC. All five individuals, three with Hageland and two with Renfro, died in the crash. A representative from the Federal Aviation Administratio (FAA), Allen Kenitzer, reports that there is a lot that is still unknown in this case. Both the cause and circumstances surrounding the deadly crash are unknown.
Candis A. Olmstead, director of public affairs for the Alaska National Guard, reported no extraordinary circumstances. The area where the crash occurred was reported to be hilly and have a lot of vegetation. The elevation was between 600 to 800 feet. Skies were clear and temperatures were around 63 degrees at the time of the collision, according to Olmstead.
The National Transportation Safety Board reported that Alaska is known for having many plane collisions. The state had the fourth most general aviation accidents in the United States as of 2005; however, the number of crashes are steadily declining, and have been for the past 35 years. BBC reports that mid-air collisions are rare in the United States.
Alaska’s transportation options are limited, so commercial plane use has historically been more frequent than in other states. An awareness of safety procedures and increased skill has led to fewer crashes. Much has yet to be revealed in this case. The FAA and National Transportation Safety Board will continue to investigate this incident. For more CDA News, follow our tweets on Twitter and like us on Facebook.
By Tory Crowley
Photo Courtesy Facebook