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Thread: Another mid air collision

  1. #1
    Member mjm316's Avatar
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    Apr 2009

    Default Another mid air collision

    Another mid air collision involving Hageland and Renfro's North of Bethal. Renfro's plane was a cub and the other a 208 I believe. Prayers to all involved.

  2. #2
    Member Float Pilot's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Kachemak Bay Alaska


    Troopers: 'No survivors' in midair collision near Russian Mission

    BETHEL None of the five people aboard two planes that collided Wednesday morning in the skies above a Yukon River village survived the crash, Alaska State Troopers said.

    Troopers Wednesday afternoon were still confirming the identities of those aboard the planes and looking for relatives to notify, said trooper spokeswoman Megan Peters.

    The planes collided on a sunny day about 6 miles northwest of Russian Mission and some 60 miles from the Southwest Alaska hub of Bethel.

    Two National Transportation Safety Board investigators flew on a trooper helicopter from Anchorage to the extensive crash site, said Clint Johnson, NTSB lead investigator for Alaska. A third investigator was headed to Bethel from the Lower 48. The Federal Aviation Administration is also investigating, said spokesman Allen Kenitzer.

    Midair crashes are usually technical and complex, Johnson said.

    "Ultimately what we are trying to do is to see how the airplanes came together," Johnson said. "What we want to do is to see if either one of these airplanes was able to see one another, either electronically or visually."

    The Alaska National Guard identified one plane as a Hageland Aviation Cessna 208 Caravan with three individuals on board. The other, with two on board, was a Piper PA-18 Super Cub operated through Renfro's Alaskan Adventures, said Lt. Col. Candis Olmstead, a Guard spokeswoman.

    Hageland now operates under the Ravn Alaska umbrella, the busiest commuter service in Alaska. Hageland came under scrutiny after a string of crashes in 2013 and 2014, including one that killed four passengers and another that killed two pilots on a training flight.

    Reports and interviews released by the NTSB last year suggested that Hageland had been operating with loose controls and a bush-pilot culture of tight landings and flights in extreme weather. But improvements were made, including creating a tracking and control system directed from Palmer, according to news reports.

    "They did a very good job as far as changing their operations," Johnson said Wednesday. "As far as we are concerned, that's in the past."

    The Cessna 208 is "the mainstay of bush carriers," he said. The Piper Super Cub is also a popular aircraft that's been around for years.

    At 11 a.m. on Wednesday, an aviation company reported to the Alaska Rescue Coordination Center at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson that it had lost radio contact with a plane that was overdue, Olmstead said.

    Fifteen minutes later, troopers alerted the RCC about a different plane, also overdue.

    "It didn't take too long for the rescuers to figure out we were dealing with a midair," Johnson said.

    A third aircraft spotted wreckage on the ground. Johnson said there are essentially two crash sites.

    The Rescue Coordination Center enlisted a Bethel-based Alaska Army National Guard UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter carrying medics, which took off at noon, Olmstead said.

    Employees at both Ravn Alaska which operates Hageland and Renfro's didn't return calls Wednesday morning and afternoon.

    Around noon, before rescuers got to the scene, the Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corp., which operates a clinic in the village and hospital in Bethel, was alerted that medical help might be needed. Within 12 minutes, it had activated an emergency operations center in Bethel to make sure medical staff, equipment and transportation were ready to go, said Tiffany Zulkosky, vice president of communications.

    Then around 2:15 p.m., troopers announced no one survived. "YKHC has stood down," the health agency said.

    YKHC still is offering help; emergency clinicians for families of those in the crash were standing by at YKHC's family center at 837 Chief Eddie Hoffman Highway. Behavioral health aides in village clinics are available too.

    The terrain in the area features rolling hills and heavy vegetation, with elevation between 600 to 800 feet. Skies were clear. The temperature was warm for late summer, 63 degrees.
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