Dense fog advisory grounds planes scheduled to take supplies, passengers to Alaska villages
Heavy fog in Anchorage over the last few days has grounded flights scheduled to take people, food and supplies to villages in rural Alaska. While pilots are hoping to resume flying Wednesday, the forecast doesn’t look promising.
Ben Wilkinson, a pilot and manager at Spernak Airways, said he has about 1,600 pounds of cargo and 10 passengers waiting to go to the villages of Tyonek and Beluga.
“We’ve just been socked in with the fog. Today was pretty bad, there were no breaks. Yesterday we had a couple breaks in the weather and then everybody thinks that it’s good enough to go, but 10 minutes later it fogs back in,” Wilkinson explained. “So we really gotta wait for it to get nice and stay nice for us to depart so we can make it back in here.”
Crates, boxes and bags carrying food, clothes, supplies and fuel were piled up in his office.
“Everybody’s dropping off cargo and we’re running out of places to put it,” he said.
Wilkinson said he hadn’t seen one plane take off from Merrill Field all day Tuesday and his planes haven’t gone anywhere since Saturday.
Anchorage’s Office of Emergency Management has issued a dense fog advisory until 12 p.m. Wednesday, saying, “visibilities will frequently be reduced to less than one quarter mile.”
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