US

4 Believed to Be on Plane in Deadly Crash in Alaska

By The Associated Press

ANCHORAGE, Alaska—Four people are believed to have been aboard a plane that crashed in Alaska with no survivors.

National Transportation Safety Board Alaska chief Clint Johnson says reports indicate four people were aboard the plane when Piper PA-22 crashed on Aug. 4 outside Girdwood. Johnson says NTSB investigators were heading to the crash site with Alaska State Troopers on Monday.

Alaska State Troopers in a web posting say the crash happened near Eagle Glacier south of Anchorage. The crash was at about the 5,000-foot (1,524-meter) elevation on Goat Mountain.

Troopers say an Alaska National Guard helicopter responded, and the crew confirmed the crash and that there were no survivors.

Troopers were attempting to reach the site to assess terrain and come up with a recovery plan.

1 Killed, 4 Injured When Flight Aborted on Takeoff

In another recent aviation accident, a Maryland man visiting Alaska with his family was killed and one of his three children was critically injured on July 19 after their floatplane’s takeoff was aborted.

Alaska State Troopers identified the deceased man as Joseph Patenella, 57. No hometown was disclosed. The critically hurt child was flown to Anchorage for treatment, along with two other family members.

Seven people were aboard the de Havilland DHC-2 Beaver at the mouth of Tutka Bay near Homer. The others who were on the floatplane appear to have non-life-threatening injuries, troopers said.

Patenella was traveling with his wife and three children as well as an adult male relative, according to officials at South Peninsula Hospital in Homer. Reports initially said there were four children on board.

Hospital spokeswoman Derotha Ferraro said Patenella died before arriving at the facility.

The mother, the critically injured child and a second child were flown to Providence Alaska Medical Center in Anchorage, Ferraro said.

The third child and the pilot were treated and released, Ferraro said. Troopers say the pilot, Engjell Berisha, was not injured.

The Federal Aviation Administration said the plane crashed under unknown circumstances on takeoff. Coast Guard Petty Officer Amanda Norcross, however, said the manager of a nearby lodge reported the aircraft never left the water.

Troopers said a patrol boat transported all on board to Homer, where the injured people were taken to the hospital.

FAA spokesman Allen Kenitzer said his agency and the National Transportation Safety Board will investigate.

The plane is owned by Anchorage-based Rust’s Flying Service. The passengers were guests at Tutka Bay Lodge, said Bri Kelly, a spokeswoman on behalf of the flying service. She said the company has suspended its operations and is cooperating with authorities.

The company and Tutka Bay Lodge are “devastated” by the death and focusing on helping guests, family, workers and first responders, according to a joint statement.