Two dead in Taquan Air crash in Metlakatla Harbor, borough says

Metlakatla Float Plane Crash Courtesy: Aerial Leask
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ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - A Taquan Air Beaver airplane with a pilot and passenger on board crashed in Metlakatla at about 4 p.m. on Monday according to Deanna Thomas, the spokesperson for the Ketchikan Gateway Borough.

Both people died, and the circumstances of the crash were not immediately available. One of the victims was identified by her employer Tuesday as an epidemiologist.

The National Transportation Safety Board is expected to release a statement about the crash Tuesday afternoon.

The NTSB director for Alaska said the agency had received word of the incident at about 4:30 p.m. An investigator was on her way to Metlakatla Monday, the NTSB's Clint Johnson said, as part of its follow-up to the crash.

"Very, very preliminary information here," Johnson said. "We're hoping to have a little bit more clarity right after this tragic accident, hopefully by mid-day tomorrow."

Johnson said two investigations were launched: One into the fatal crash itself, and another into Taquan Air. The investigations launched Monday, he said, will remain - on the NTSB's end - completely separate from any investigations into the fatal Ketchikan-area crash that happened a week ago.

"It is way too early draw any conclusions," Johnson said. "Very much in the early stages in the accident investigation."

The NTSB is required to investigate fatal aircraft incidents. Generally, it will release a preliminary report within a few days, and that will then be replaced with a final description of the crash and its probable cause if determined.

The Coast Guard had sent a helicopter from Air Station Sitka and a response boat from Ketchikan to try to rescue the plane's occupants, but a Coast Guard spokesperson said Metlakatla Police, Good Samaritans, emergency medical services and Troopers had all responded.

Thomas, with the Borough, said a seining boat was the first to reach the scene of the crash. A Good Samaritan boat towed the plane to shore until it could be secured.

Taquan Air is the operator of one of two planes that collided near Ketchikan last week, killing six people between the 16 on board both planes. A public relations spokesperson hired by the company reached Monday evening said he didn't have any further information at the time.

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