Search for Floatplane Crash Survivors Continues for Second Day
Date: May 14, 2019
Contact: Deanna Thomas, Incident PIO, (907) 617-5336
For Immediate Release:
The search resumed at 6 a.m. this morning for two remaining passengers on a Mountain Air Beaver floatplane that crashed in the Mahoney Creek area of George Inlet.
Search and rescue crews Monday evening recovered the remains of a fourth individual involved in two fatal floatplane crashes south of Ketchikan. Four are confirmed deceased.
Two floatplanes crashed at approximately the same time in George Inlet today within a mile and a half of one another. A Taquan Air Otter floatplane with 11 individuals crashed in the Coon Cove area of George Inlet. A Beaver floatplane operated by Mountain Air with five individuals crashed in the Mahoney Creek area. A total of 16 were on board the two planes. All passengers aboard the Taquan Air plane have been accounted for, according to Ketchikan Volunteer Rescue Squad Incident Commander Jerry Kiffer.
KVRS is slated to conduct dive operations at the site of the Mountain Air wreckage today. The debris field is 1,000-feet by 2,600-feet, of which 500 feet are on land.
Ketchikan Gateway Borough Mayor David Landis offered this statement for all involved: “Our community is heartbroken over this tragedy and its devastating impact on so many families. There has been a tremendous outpouring of compassion and support from everywhere in the community, and we offer sincere gratitude to all those who are responding to the crashes.”
Ten patients were transported to PeaceHealth Medical Center with injuries ranging from broken bones and lacerations to life-threatening injuries.
The names of the passengers are not being released at this time. The Borough is not releasing details regarding the circumstances of the crash.
At 12:47 p.m. Monday, the South Tongass Volunteer Fire Department was dispatched to a reported boat crash in George Inlet. Rescuers did not discover there were two planes down until approximately 20 minutes into the incident.
The U.S. Coast Guard, NOAA, U.S. Forest Service, Alaska State Troopers, Ketchikan Volunteer Rescue Squad, and Temsco spent the afternoon and evening searching the area Monday. The Ketchikan Fire Department and North Tongass Volunteer Fire Department are also assisting with the care and transport of patients. Allen Marine Tours, which was conducting a tour in the area, assisted with the transport of a number of patients waiting ambulances.
George Inlet Lodge also played a pivotal role in the rescue effort, serving as the base of operations for search and rescue.
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