Investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board have recovered one of the two planes involved in Monday’s mid-air collision in Ketchikan’s George Inlet area, and were working on recovering the second.
The Taquan Air Otter was mostly intact said NTSB Member Jennifer Homendy, speaking during a media briefing Wednesday afternoon.
“The Taquan plane was submerged in 75 feet of water and only about 50 feet off the shore,” she said.
Homendy said the plane was lifted out of the water by a crane, placed on a barge and covered with a tarp.
The other plane, a Beaver operated by Mountain Air, will be more challenging because of the large debris field. Homendy said that as of Wednesday afternoon, the barge moved to where some of the Beaver’s debris was located, and crews had started placing that debris on the barge.
The two planes will be taken to a secure hangar. Once all the debris has been recovered,
“We will begin to put together the structures of both aircraft in the hangar to see how the two aircraft came together,” she said.
Investigators also are interviewing the Taquan Air pilot, along with surviving passengers and any witnesses. Homendy said the NTSB is working with other agencies, including the Federal Aviation Administration, and the transportation safety boards of Canada and Australia.
Two of the passengers who died in the crash were foreign nationals. One was Australian and the other was from British Columbia.
Taquan Air sent a statement Wednesday, expressing condolences to the families of those who died. The company also expressed gratitude to the search and rescue crews involved in recovery efforts.
Taquan had suspended all flights immediately following the wreck. In Wednesday’s statement, the company announced that it has resumed scheduled and chartered flights.
In addition to tours, Taquan provides regular flight service between Southeast rural communities.