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Old 05-15-2019, 01:39 AM
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Having lived in SE Alaska for 26 years and worked multiple plane/helo crashes over the years the recent float plane mid air collision in George Inlet, KTN has hit me pretty hard. I used to sail my sailboat there to the George Inlet Lodge and we would spend the night anchored out front and have dinner at the lodge.

Over the years I helped save 7 lives off a Beaver full of cruise ship tourists when it flew into a mountain above Ward Lake in KTN by slinging them out of the wreckage to ambulances down on the valley floor. All survived to the best of my knowledge.

Then I went to work for the police in JNU and worked a mid air crash between a tour helicopter and a fixed wing owned by the FAA. Both on the FAA plane died when it crashed into the beach at low tied. The charter helo managed to make an emergency landing on a logging road. Only one serious injury on the helo to the passenger at the point of impact. All were evac'ed to medical care from the side of the mountain the pilot found a spot to put the helo down on.

Wings of Alaska lost a Beaver over Prince of Whales Island going to Craig, AK. We were in the area and began a search grid and quickly got a ping off the aircraft's ELT which put us in the correct drainage. From there we spotted a small smoke plume the pilot had lit after running a few miles from the wreckage. We landed in a nearby muskeg and the pilot was happy to see us and flew him back to the helipad at the hospital in KTN for a check up. Pilot had gotten screwed up by weather and flew into the wrong drainage which was not a pass to the West side of Prince of Whales Island and couldn't get turned around to escape. Ended up corkscrewing the Beaver around a very large Sitka Spruce with the aircraft's wing and spiraling down to the ground. Saved an impact with the ground. Phewww, could have been a lot worse. Took us another day to locate the actual wreckage. All we had was elevation and the approximate location. Finally spotted the broken up tree and the plane on the ground below it. Used a medium lift twin engine Bell 212 helo to sling it out of the woods.

Enough of my life's history. Just helps to talk about all the Stuff that crops up when the next crisis happens where I spent 26 years of my life.

Thanks for listening.

Twisp, WA
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Old 05-15-2019, 11:37 AM
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Good stories. Sad about the crash though. My wife's family owns a hunting lodge on Kodiak and also owns Kingfisher Air. They also have a beaver they fly. I immediately thought of them and was relieved they were not involved.

A sailor moves to Twisp? That is quite a change!

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Old 05-15-2019, 05:48 PM
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Interesting information and background, George! We moved to Ketchikan in 1972 and from there moved to a logging camp on the Prince of Wales island. Made several trips to Craig. Our primary means of travel, locally, was by boat. If we needed to travel further, it was by float plane, usually a Beaver.

It's amazing how much untamed wilderness there is in the SE part of Alaska - after we moved to Anchorage and my dad became active in skydiving, he lost a couple friends who went down in a light aircraft but they never found the wreckage or any sign of the plane at all.

Look forward to seeing you again and sharing stories about the Last Frontier. I still miss it, but not enough to move back...
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