July 9, 2013

Alaska crash victims were family on fishing trip

The nine passengers from South Carolina who died in the plane crash were headed to a fishing lodge.

By Rachel D'Oro / The Associated Press

(Continued from page 1)

click image to enlarge

Emergency personnel stand near the wreckage of a fixed-wing aircraft that crashed Sunday at the Soldotna Airport in Soldotna, Alaska.

The Associated Press

At the time of the crash, there were light winds and high clouds, Johnson said.

Rediske Air was involved in an accident last year in Nikiski, according to an NTSB database report.

In the non-injury mishap, the pilot of a Cessna 207A plane misidentified the runway surface at night and landed the aircraft in a snow bank. The pilot said most of the runway lights had been covered by heavy snow and were not clearly visible.

The plane's wings and horizontal stabilizer sustained substantial damage.

In the Soldotna crash, the flames took 10 minutes to extinguish and initially kept firefighters from reaching the wreckage, according to authorities.

The de Havilland is similar to an Otter that crashed in Alaska in 2010, killing former U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens and four others, Johnson said. The plane in the Stevens crash was equipped with floats, while the plane in Sunday's crash had wheels.

It's possible to drive from Anchorage to Soldotna, but it's about a four-hour trip as the highway hugs Turnagain Arm, then cuts through a mountain pass.

Soldotna, with a population of about 4,300, is on the banks of the Kenai River, and the area is busy this time of the year with people fishing for salmon. The airport is located about a mile from a commercial area and has a paved runway that is 5,000 feet long.

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