THURSDAY 8:00 A.M. UPDATE: Alaska authorities name survivors of deadly plane crash
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Alaska authorities have released the names of seven survivors of a floatplane that crashed near a lake, killing three tourists.
The surviving pilot is identified by Alaska State Troopers as 54-year-old John Furnia of New York. The surviving passengers are identified as 65-year-old Rodger C. Glaspey of California, Robert J. Dingler of California, 67-year-old David W. Wood of Pennsylvania, 25-year-old Seth J. Hofland of Utah, 23-year-old Robert R. Westbrook of Oregon and 27-year-old Justin L. Schillaci of Pennsylvania.
Hometowns weren't immediately available. Authorities say some of those on board were guides.
Killed in the crash were 80-year-old Tony W. Degroot of Hanford, California; 70-year-old James P. Fletcher of Clovis, California; and 69-year-old James Specter of Shavertown, Pennsylvania.
The plane belonging to an Iliamna lodge crashed Tuesday in southwest Alaska.
TUESDAY 7:00 P.M. UPDATE:
Officials from the National Transportation Safety Board are conducting preliminary investigations into the plane crash that killed 3 in Iliamna Tuesday morning.
NTSB spokesman Clint Johnson said that they'll be looking at weather conditions and lake conditions at the time of the accident as well as speaking with witnesses in the area.
"The airplane ended up off the departure end of the lake, off of east wind lake, and my understanding is it collided with a stand of trees or crashed into tree-covered terrain," Johnson said. "The wreckage right now is about a thousand yards from the departure end of the lake."
The DeHavilland DHC-3T Turbine Otter, a fishing charter operated by Rainbow King Lodge, crashed on takeoff from East Wind Lake. NTSB officials say they'll be reaching out to Viking, the aircraft's frame manufacturer, for technical assistance as well.
"We’re very much in the preliminary stages of the investigation, we were just notified hours ago, or 4-6 hours ago," Johnson said. 'Probably in the next day or so here, we’ll have a little bit more information as far as the direction of the investigation."
River Lucas, a fishing guide in Iliamna, was one of several community members to respond to the crash Tuesday morning.
"I was sound asleep and my boss busted in to my room and said there had been a plane crash," Lucas said. "So I quickly got dressed, I gathered up tools and we went over there. We quickly walked out to the crash site and it was apparent that it was really bad."
A trooper on scene described the debris at the crash site as being scattered over a relatively small area. The plane was about a quarter of a mile away from the road, and five of the seven survivors had to be carried out by stretcher.
TUESDAY 2:15 P.M. UPDATE: Troopers identify three killed in crash
Alaska State Troopers identified the three people killed in a plane crash Tuesday morning in Iliamna as:
- 80-year-old Tony W. Degroot of Hanford, California
- 70-year-old James Fletcher of Clovis, California
- 69-year-old James Specter of Shavertown, Pennsylvania
Troopers have not yet released the names of the survivors.
The family of Jim Fletcher provided this statement: “Jim, a quiet man with an incredibly generous heart, was full of faith in Christ Jesus. His family and his church community are grieving together.”
The next of kin for Degroot, Fletcher and Specter have been notified and their bodies are being sent to the State Medical Examiner's Office for autopsy.
TUESDAY 11:30 A.M. UPDATE: 3 out-of-state residents killed
Three people are dead after a lodge floatplane carrying 10 people to a fishing site crashed during takeoff early Tuesday morning near Iliamna, authorities say.
The deceased are all out-of-state residents and Alaska State Troopers are working to notify their families, according to troopers. The de Havilland DHC-3 Turbine Otter belonged to Rainbow King Lodge, FAA records show.
The Alaska Air National Guard said five of the seven survivors were being flown to Anchorage for treatment.
The de Havilland Otter came to a rest among trees near East Wind Lake, said NTSB Alaska region chief Clint Johnson.
A woman who answered the phone at Rainbow King Lodge Tuesday and identified herself as a housekeeper declined to comment. The lodge Facebook page and website, which were public early Tuesday morning, were removed from public view by noon.
Attempts to contact the California-based president of the business were unsuccessful Tuesday.
Myrtle Anelon lives across a creek from the crash site and said she woke this morning to someone knocking on the door, asking for flashlights, as villagers rallied to help the survivors.
"We went out and turned all our car lights on, and a few minutes later we could see the light from the plane wing," Anelon said. "You could see the wing straight up in the air from here, this morning."
“People from all over the lake came and helped," she said.
Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Allen Kenitzer says the plane crashed on takeoff at East Wind Lake, 1 mile north of Iliamna.
Iliamna residents helping with the rescue effort referred questions to troopers.
TUESDAY 10:45 A.M. UPDATE: At least 7 survivors, neighbors wake to rescue effort
At least seven of the 10 people on board the float plane have survived the crash, said Staff Sgt. Edward Eagerton of the Alaska Air National Guard.
Five survivors were being flown in an HC 130 to Anchorage for treatment this morning.
TUESDAY UPDATE: de Havilland Otter was carrying 10 people
An NTSB investigator says multiple people have died in a plane crash reported at about 6:30 a.m. today near Iliamna.
The de Havilland turbine Otter was carrying 10 people and crashed shortly after takeoff, said Alaska region chief Clint Johnson.
The number of fatalities and injuries is not immediately known. Trooper spokeswoman Megan Peters said more than one person has died.
The plane is in trees near a lake, Johnson said.
Troopers described the crash site as near East Wind Lake, just north of the Iliamna airport.
"Rescue personnel area assisting in getting injured passengers to the Iliamna Clinic," troopers wrote in an email.
TUESDAY ORIGINAL STORY:
Alaska State Troopers and National Transportation Safety Board investigators are responding this morning to reports of a plane crash near Iliamna.
"We are sending two investigators," Clint Johnson, Alaska region chief for the National Transportation Safety Board, told Channel 2 News.
Iliamna is a village of about 100 people on the northwest side of Iliamna Lake, 225 miles southeast of Anchorage.
This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.