METLAKATLA, ALASKA – Two people died in the 2nd Taquan Air floatplane crash in 1 week in Alaska, according to a statement from the Ketchikan Gateway Borough. Taquan Air was also involved in a fatal accident last week on May 13, 2019.
The de Havilland DHC-2 Beaver floatplane crashed into the port of Metlakatla, Alaska. According to the first reports, the accident occured during landing, when the right wing touched the water, causing the plane to flip over. An eyewitness saw the aircraft floating upside down in the water, Anchorage Daily News reports.
The flight was scheduled from Ketchikan and carried a “fair amount of cargo” en route to Metlakatla, where the pilot was to pick up another load of passengers waiting at the dock, according to Clint Johnson from the NTSB in Alaska.
Metlakatla is a community of approx. 1,400 people, about 15 miles south of Ketchikan. Taquan Air makes regular 10-minute flights to Metlakatla from Ketchikan in Alaska and is the largest commuter airline in the area.
Taquan Air posted a statement to its website on Tuesday evening saying its employees, passengers and their families are the company’s priority.
“As you can imagine the past 24 hours have been incredibly overwhelming and we are reeling from not only the incident yesterday, but also from last week,” the company said. “It’s been a really heavy and heartbreaking time for us.”
“We are grateful for your patience and the outpouring of community support and we will update you as soon as we have more information to share,” the statement said.
The pilot of the floatplane was 51-year old Ron Rash of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, according to the Metlakatla Indian Community. The passenger was Sarah Luna, a 31-year old epidemiologist from Anchorage. She was traveling as part of an Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium diabetes team, the consortium said in a statement.
This is the 2nd fatal incident with floatplanes in 1 week. Last week 2 floatplanes collided in mid-air over Alaska, including 1 from Taquan Air. 6 were killed and 10 people were injured.
(Photo: Taquan Air)