Eleven people have survived an airplane crash Tuesday morning (7-10-18) on Prince of Wales Island, and were back in Ketchikan by early afternoon, following a combined rescue effort.
According to the U.S. Coast Guard, the de Havilland Otter crashed on Mount Jumbo on POW, ending up about 2,000 feet up the mountain.
Petty Officer Charly Hengen says two rescue helicopters out of Air Station Sitka, members of the Ketchikan Volunteer Rescue Squad, and several Temsco Helicopters all supported the operation.
Visibility was poor, which delayed the rescue. But, eventually crews were located the downed plane.
“One of the Jayhawk helicopter crews did hoist all 11 people from the crash site,” Hengen said. “They then took them to a staging area. At that staging area, there was room enough for the helicopter to land, plus around six or seven other contracted-out helicopters were there, along with emergency medical personnel.”
Hengen says those who needed medical attention were taken directly to PeaceHealth Ketchikan Medical Center for treatment.
Chris John of the Ketchikan Volunteer Rescue Squad said all the passengers were brought to Temsco helicopters in Ketchikan, and were met by what he estimated were all the ambulances on the island.
John says it’s gratifying to be part of a plane-crash rescue where everyone survives. Hengen agrees.
“We are very relieved that we were able to locate them as quickly as we did with the coordination,” Hengen said. “And thankful to have the Ketchikan mountain rescue volunteers on standby as well, being able to help out and being available to help as needed.”
Hengen said that the pilot had activated the craft’s emergency locator, which helped in the rescue efforts.
Ketchikan-based Taquan Air confirmed in an email Tuesday afternoon that it was the operator of the downed plane. The email states that Taquan suspended flights on Tuesday and is cooperating with the National Transportation Safety Board and other authorities investigating the crash.