Eleven people have survived an airplane crash Tuesday morning on Prince of Wales Island, and were back in Ketchikan early Tuesday afternoon.
According to the U.S. Coast Guard, the de Havilland Otter crashed on Mount Jumbo on POW, ending up about 2,000 feet up the mountain.
Petty Officer Charly Hengen said the Coast Guard dispatched two rescue helicopters out of Air Station Sitka, and they were joined by Ketchikan Volunteer Rescue Squad personnel.
Visibility was poor, which delayed the rescue. But, eventually rescue crews were able to locate the downed plane.
“One of the Jayhawk helicopter crews did hoist all 11 people from the crash site. They then took them to a staging area,” she said. “At that staging area, there was room enough for the helicopter to land, plus around six or seven other contracted-out helicopters were there, along with emergency medical personnel.”
Hengen said the medical personnel assessed injuries, and those who needed medical attention were taken directly to PeaceHealth Ketchikan Medical Center for treatment. Others were brought to Ketchikan.
Chris John of the Ketchikan Volunteer Rescue Squad said all the passengers were brought to Temsco helicopters in Ketchikan, and were met by what he estimated were all the ambulances on the island. According to a PeaceHealth spokesperson, four of the people involved were medevaced, six were evaluated and released, and one was in surgery at the Ketchikan hospital Tuesday evening.
John said it’s gratifying to be part of a plane-crash rescue where everyone survives. Hengen agreed.
“We are very relieved that we were able to locate them as quickly as we did with the coordination, and thankful to have the Ketchikan mountain rescue volunteers on standby as well, being able to help out and being available to help as needed,” she said.
Hengen said in an earlier interview that the pilot had activated the craft’s emergency locator, which helped in the rescue efforts. He also was the one to call and report the accident.
Ketchikan-based Taquan Air confirmed in an email Tuesday afternoon that it was the operator of the downed plane. The email states that Taquan suspended flights on Tuesday and is cooperating with the National Transportation Safety Board and other authorities investigating the crash.
At the time of this report, Clint Johnson of the National Transportation Safety Board had not returned a call seeking comment.
This report has been updated. We will provide more information as it is available.