SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Nation/World

December 2, 2013

NTSB officials examine Alaska crash wreckage

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Federal investigators yesterday started documenting the wreckage of a plane crash in remote southwest Alaska that killed four people and injured six Friday night.

A break in weather conditions allowed two investigators — from the National Transportation Safety Board and the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration — yesterday to reach the scene where a single-engine aircraft went down near the village of Saint Marys, said Clint Johnson, the chief of the NTSB’s Alaska regional office.

“The goal is to document the wreckage at the accident site to the best of their ability and be able to talk to witnesses,” Johnson said yesterday afternoon.

He added that “it’s way too early to draw any conclusions” about what caused the accident.

Investigators will be at the site for at least a day, possibly two, collecting evidence and interviewing witnesses, Johnson said. Another NTSB investigator in Anchorage also is hoping to interview survivors of the crash, he said.

The Hageland Aviation Cessna 208 crashed around 6:30 p.m. Friday four miles from Saint Marys. It left Bethel on a scheduled flight for Mountain Village and eventually Saint Marys but never reached Mountain Village.

The airplane would have been flying in freezing rain with a mile of visibility and a 300-foot ceiling, a spokeswoman for the Alaska State Troopers has said.

Johnson said the plane was equipped with an advanced electronic locator transmitter that went off on impact and sent a satellite signal with GPS coordinates alerting officials to the accident.

About 7 p.m. Friday, one of the survivors, Melanie Coffee, made a frantic call for help resuscitating her 5-month-old baby, then walked nearly a mile to lead searchers hampered by cold and fog to the crash site.

Saint Marys has about 500 people and is 470 miles west of Anchorage. Like many Alaska villages, it is off the state road system. People routinely use small aircraft to reach regional hubs where they can catch another plane to complete trips to Anchorage or other cities.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Nation/World

Local News
  • Salem extends principal search SALEM -- Superintendent Stephen Russell has extended the search for three new principals, arguably the most important personnel decisions he will make in his three years as head of the public schools. Russell is about to hire principals to guide turn

    April 24, 2014

  • 140423_SN_KYU_CROSSWALK A safer place to cross

    PEABODY -- A little more than a year after tragedy struck, the new pedestrian traffic signal in front of St. Adelaide's Parish is installed and operational. "My dad worked his whole life in the service of his community, church and country, and it giv

    April 24, 2014 1 Photo 5 Stories

  • MBTA proposes commuter-rail fee increase SALEM -- The train to Boston is about to get more expensive. Across-the-board fare increases recently proposed by the MBTA would raise the price of single trips on the commuter rail by 25 to 50 cents and the cost of monthly passes from between $10 fo

    April 24, 2014

  • Unrepentant serial drunken driver gets 31/2 to 5 years PEABODY -- Despite what a judge and prosecutor called an attempt to "hijack" the proceedings in his case, a serial drunken driver from Peabody was sentenced to state prison yesterday. Right up to the end, Peter Hurley, 53, was adamant that he'd done

    April 24, 2014

  • pipes1 Sewerage repair delay sparks worry MARBLEHEAD -- Serious concerns are building over delays in the repair of a sewer pipe connecting Marblehead to the South Essex Sewerage District in Salem. The need for replacing the two pipes became apparent in March 2013, when one began to leak int

    April 24, 2014 2 Photos