Weather delays efforts to reach cargo plane crash site

Posted: Friday, January 26, 2001

UNALASKA (AP) -- Snow and blustery weather delayed plans Thursday to reach the crash site of a cargo plane with two people aboard.

Sgt. John Nichols of the Unalaska Department of Public Safety said the forecast was calling for winds of 50 mph that would keep any search and rescue aircraft on the ground.

''It is just a hold until the weather breaks,'' Nichols said.

Searchers found the wreckage Wednesday afternoon of the DC-3 cargo plane on a mountain about 10 miles north-northwest of downtown Unalaska. The aircraft might be one that took off from Unalaska on Tuesday night and was reported missing on Wednesday.

A DC-3 belonging to Majestic Air Cargo with two people on board took off from the Unalaska airport at about 9 p.m. Tuesday. Nichols said the plane was on its way to Anchorage and was believed to be carrying seafood.

The two people aboard the plane were pilot Jody Pond, 53, of Anchorage, and co-pilot Angela Drennan, 39, also of Anchorage. Nichols said observers did not believe anyone could have survived the crash.

The wreckage was spotted at about the 1,500-foot level on a steep mountainside six miles from the Unalaska airport at Eider Point.

Coast Guard Lt. Christopher Ahearn said the Coast Guard received an emergency locator transmitter signal relayed by satellite at about 11 p.m. Tuesday night.

A Coast Guard helicopter based in Kodiak and on assignment in Cold Bay was diverted to the Unalaska area but found nothing Tuesday night.

The search continued Wednesday, and the helicopter crew received audio signals from an emergency locator transmitter.

A Coast Guard helicopter flew over the crash site but was unable to land because of the steep terrain and winds of 30-40 mph with.

Nichols said as soon as the weather permitted a search and rescue operation would be launched.

Coast Guard Petty Officer Keith Alholm said crews will have to land about 400 feet below the wreckage and work their way up to the crash site.

Pond was piloting a D-C 3 in 1998 when it crashed outside of Anchorage when the plane ran out of fuel. The National Transportation Safety Board said the crash was due to pilot error. Pond and a co-pilot were not seriously injured.

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