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Four killed in plane crash near St. Mary’s

By KTVA CBS 11 News 12:18 PM December 2, 2013

Cessna 208 carrying 10 went down outside St. Mary's

Editorial Note: Troopers are now spelling the pilot’s name as “Terry Hanson,” not “Terry Hansen” as was originally reported.

Update: Saturday, 2 p.m.

All the passengers who survived the crash are Mountain Village residents, according to Martin Alexie at the Mountain Village Police Department.

Melanie Coffee, 25, is at ANMC. Until recently she was an elder care provider with a program that has since closed.

Pauline Johnson, 37, is also at ANMC and is a tribal court administrator.

Kylan Johnson, 14, is Pauline Johnson’s son and is at Providence Alaska Medical Center.

Tanya Lawrence, 35, is at Providence. She is a secretary with a school district. Shannon Lawrence, whose age troopers did not release, is also at Providence.

Garrett Moses, 30, is a full-time dad and is at Providence.

The four passengers who died were Richard Polty, 65; Rose Polty, 57; Wyatt Coffee, 5 months old and Terry Hanson, 68.

(This update was compiled based on information from Alexie and the Alaska State Troopers dispatch).

Update: Saturday, 12:30 p.m.

Alvin Brown, a former village public safety officer of Mountain Village, was one of the responders on the scene last night after receiving a call from the city manager.

Brown and other volunteers searched for crash victims on snowmobiles and ATVs. He was in one of the vehicles that transported victims and said the fourth passenger who died as a result of the crash passed away in transit.

According to Brown, a family was on board and one of passengers killed in the crash was a 5-month-old infant. Brown said he knew everyone on the plane except for the child.

Update: Saturday, 11:30 a.m. 

Hageland Aviation released a statement regarding the crash and said they are working with authorities to figure out what caused the accident.

“Hageland Aviation Services and our employees send our thoughts and prayers to the loved ones of those who died and were injured in the plane crash near St. Mary’s last night,” said Hageland Aviation President Jim Hickerson in the statement. “Hageland is working to gather information to answer questions and do what we can to ease the suffering of those involved in the accident. As a family-owned business this is an unspeakable tragedy for us. We will work closely with local, state and federal authorities to determine the cause of the accident.”

Original Story

ANCHORAGE – Four people are dead following a plane crash outside St. Mary’s Friday night, Alaska State Troopers confirm.

The Cessna 208, flown by Hageland Aviation, was traveling from Bethel with 10 people on board when it went down sometime around 6:30 p.m., said Mountain Village police dispatcher Ryan Johnson. A St. Mary’s resident who responded to the crash said the plane was originally bound for Mountain Village, but was unable to land because of ice and foggy conditions.

According to trooper dispatch, passengers Rose Polty, Richard Polty, Wyatt Coffee and pilot Terry Hanson were killed when the plane went down. Passengers Melanie Coffee, Pauline Johnson, Kylan Johnson, Tanya Lawrence, Garrett Moses and Shannon Lawrence survived.

Troopers first received reports of the missing plane at approximately 7 p.m. Friday, and located the wreckage of the plane around 8:30 that evening near a dump outside St. Mary’s. The Rescue Coordination Center and LifeMed responded to the scene along with troopers.

Saturday morning, a spokeswoman for the Alaska Native Medical Center said Coffee and Johnson are hospitalized in fair condition at ANMC. There was no information immediately available regarding the condition of the remaining four survivors.

St. Mary’s is a community of about 500 people on the banks of the Andreafsky River, approximately 470 miles west of Anchorage.

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