1 wrecked plane recovered in deadly Ketchikan midair collision
Authorities have recovered one of the two planes which collided in midair near Ketchikan on Monday leaving six people dead and 10 others injured, National Transportation Safety Board officials said Wednesday.
Alaska State Troopers named the deceased Tuesday evening, following the collision involving two de Havilland aircraft: a Taquan Air DHC-3 Otter and a Mountain Air Service DHC-2 Beaver. One of the 11 people on board the Taquan plane died, while all five people on board the Mountain Air plane were killed:
- Randy Sullivan, 46-year-old male, pilot, from Ketchikan, Alaska
- Simon Bodie, 56-year-old male from Tempe, New South Wales, Australia
- Cassandra Webb, 62-year-old female from Saint Louis, Missouri
- Ryan Wilk, 39-year-old male, from Utah
- Louis Botha, 46-year-old male, from San Diego, California
- Elsa Wilk, 37-year-old female, from Richmond, British Columbia, Canada
On Wednesday, NTSB board member Jennifer Homendy said three groups of investigators are looking into the collision. Those groups are focused on airworthiness, the mechanical maintenance and construction of the two planes; operations, the companies' policies and procedures; and human performance, involving the pilots' performance, decision-making and fitness.
The Taquan Air plane was found submerged in 75 feet of water about 50 feet from shore, Homendy said. That plane was recovered and is headed to Ketchikan.
The crashed Beaver, however, generated a debris field covering an estimated 1,000 by 3,000 feet. Some of the wreckage is on a mountainside as well as in the water. The NTSB has roped off the area with buoys in an effort to protect the scene.
As of Wednesday evening, the NTSB was examining whether the planes' transponders were working, whether the pilots could see each other, and whether either had filed a flight plan.
The NTSB's preliminary report is expected in about two weeks.
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