Survivors of deadly PenAir crash share their stories
Cody Lee is used to flying living in Unalaska, but she says she's never experienced anything like PenAir Flight 3296.
She, along with her 13-month-old daughter and 37 other passengers got ready to arrive in Unalaska when something felt wrong.
"We had really bad turbulence. I mean, we were up and down, so I was just gripping the baby. It felt like it was scaring me," Lee said.
"I thought we were either going to be turning around and going back to Anchorage, or we were going to go in from the opposite approach," she added.
Investigators with the National Transportation Safety Board said the pilot chose to go around and land on the second try.
"I didn't know we were crashing at that point. I thought we were stopping, that we were done," Lee said.
But, fellow passenger Steve Ranney of Cordova knew otherwise. He was traveling with his son Jacob and the Cordova High School swim team.
"When we weren't decelerating, all I was looking at was the water coming toward us," Ranney said.
Lee says her seat did not have a window. Her mother sat two rows back and saw everything.
"She said, 'cover the baby!' I just threw my arm up over my head and crouched over her body, and it was instant after that,” Lee said. “It was just a big bang, and the whole overhead just crashed down on us."
"My daughter would have been severely injured or probably killed," she added. "The person in front of us died. It's just horrific."
The passenger in front of Lee was 38-year-old David Oltman of Washington state. Ranney was in the same row.
"I was in the seat just adjacent to him, and the prop came through right next to me as well," Ranney said.
He didn’t panic. Instead, he went to work.
Ranney says he's a trained first responder. He says his first response was to try and help somebody.
"I was more focused on the victim," he said.
Marjie Veeder, Public Information Officer for the City of Unalaska, said crews removed the wreckage Saturday as the Tom Madsen Airport reopened for business. However, the City of Unalaska website says Alaska Airlines has suspended service with PenAir to the city through Monday.
Ranney says he and his son feel lucky to have survived. Lee says the experience has changed her.
"I would be afraid to land on this island again," she said.