Clouds and mist hang over Fritz Cove and Douglas Island. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire File)

Clouds and mist hang over Fritz Cove and Douglas Island. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire File)

Two fatalities confirmed in floatplane crash near Metlakatla

Cause of the wreck not yet known

Two people died after a floatplane crashed in the water near Ketchikan late Monday afternoon.

A pilot and a single passenger died after a Taquan Air Beaver floatplane crashed in Metlakatla Harbor at 4:10 p.m., according to a press release from the emergency Operations Center in Ketchikan. No others were aboard the plane.

A pilot and a single passenger are deceased after a Taquan Beaver Floatplane crashed in Metlatkatla Harbor Monday afternoon at approximately 4 p.m. There were no other individuals on board the aircraft.

The circumstances of the crash are not being released at this time. The names of the deceased will not be released until next of kin have been notified.

Fifteen members of the Metlakatla Volunteer Fire Department responded to the crash. A seine boat was first on scene.

Two medics were dispatched on board two Coast Guard Station Ketchikan 45-foot Response Boats. Air Station Sitka dispatched one Jayhawk Helicopter, which has since been rescinded to Sitka.

The Ketchikan Volunteer Rescue Squad dispatched a 26-foot rescue boat at 4:56 p.m. with eight volunteers.

Both individuals were brought to the Annette Island Service Unit.

Good Samaritans have the aircraft in tow and are bringing the Beaver to the beach until it can be secured.

Emergency Operation Center

The names of the deceased in Monday’s crash were not released Monday evening pending notification of next of kin.

The fatal crash comes one week after a fatal mid-air collision involving two floatplanes near Ketchikan. Six died and 10 were injured in that crash. A Taquan Air Beaver was also involved in that crash.

[A Cloud of Sadness: Search concludes and death toll officially rises near Ketchikan]

Both of the deceased were brought to the Annette Island Service Unit, and good Samaritans brought the Beaver to the beach until it could be secured, according to the release.

The U.S. Coast Guard received a report of the crash at 4:10 p.m., according to Public Affairs Specialist Lauren Dean.

“The Coast Guard has responded to that, but we’re not the lead on that case,” Dean said.

She said Metlakatla Police, Alaska State Troopers, local EMS and good Samaritans were able to assist the people aboard the floatplane before the Coast Guard was on the scene. Fifteen members of the Metlakatla Volunteer Fire Department responded to the crash. A seine boat was first on scene.

The Ketchikan Volunteer Rescue Squad dispatched a 26-foot rescue boat at 4:56 p.m. with eight volunteers, according to the release.

While circumstances of the crash have not been released, Jerry Kiffer, Incident Commander for Ketchikan Volunteer Rescue Squad told the Juneau Empire that while he could not speak to the exact conditions in Metlakatla Harbor visibility was good and there was no rain this afternoon in Ketchikan.

Kiffer said there was some slight wind, but it was not abnormally windy.

“It was a typical Ketchikan day,” he said,

Kiffer said when rescue squad personnel arrived at the site of the wreck, the two people aboard the plane had already been removed and good Samaritans had secured the float plane.

“The boat harbor there is very close to where the aircraft loads and unloads,” Kiffer said. “It’s our understanding that the air raft was landing in the harbor.”

Kiffer said he could not recall two fatal crashes happening in such quick succession.

“It’s unusual,” he said. “We have had multiple fatal accidents before, but not in recent years. I don’t really recall there being something within a week.”


• Contact reporter Ben Hohenstatt at (907)523-2243 or bhohenstatt@juneauempire.com. Follow him on Twitter at @BenHohenstatt.


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