20 October, 2019

Passenger dies following Saab 2000 plane crash in Alaska.

The US National Transportation Safety Board has dispatched a team of nine investigators to Unalaska-Tom Madsen Airport, following a runway overrun of a PenAir Saab 2000 which left one passenger dead.

The twenty-four and a half-year-old aircraft departed Ted Stevens International Airport in Anchorage, Alaska, at 1515 on Thursday 17th October, bound for Unalaska Airport.  According to local reports, the flight crew made two approaches to the airport, the first was aborted and the second resulted in an overrun. 

The turboprop touched down at around 1740 local time on runway 13, but it didn't stop when it came to the end of the runway, crossed a road and slightly tumbled down a rocky sea defence on the edge of Dutch Harbour some 500 feet from the airport.  

During the final stages of the overrun, propeller blades of one engine struck the ground, separated and pieced the fuselage of the aircraft.  Two passengers suffered critical injuries during the incident and one later died in hospital on Friday. 

According to local officials, police, fire and emergency medical services arrived on the scene within five minutes of the incident.  There were forty-two passengers and crew on the flight, including 10 students from a nearby school.  One of the students, sixteen-year-old Charlie Carroll, had to have a piece of metal shrapnel removed from his legs. Local media reported that eleven passengers were transported to Unalaska’s Iliuliuk Clinic.

Some reports indicated high winds had forced the aircraft beyond the usual touchdown zone, however local weather reports don't indicate particularly strong winds or adverse conditions at the time of the incident.  

Dave Pflieger, President RavnAir Group, owners of PenAir released the following brief statement, “On behalf of PenAir, Ravn Air Group and all our employees throughout the company, we would like to extend our deepest sympathies and condolences to the family and loved ones of our passenger who passed away"

The flight data and the cockpit voice recorders have been extracted and taken to Washington for analysis, while the aircraft has been lifted away from the crash site.  

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