Small plane crashes at Point MacKenzie

Casey Grove

A small passenger plane crashed about 3:20 p.m. Saturday on Point MacKenzie, across Knik Arm from Anchorage, causing only minor injuries, according to Alaska State Troopers.

The Cessna 206 operated by Great Northern Air had five people onboard, including the pilot, said troopers spokeswoman Beth Ipsen.

Ipsen said pilot Leo Chapman, 52, was flying the four passengers back to Anchorage from Lake Marie Lodge. The lodge is about 120 miles northwest of Anchorage, according to its website.

Riding in the plane were Brush Prairie, Wash., residents Robin Smith, 56, his son Adam Smith, 15, and Portland, Ore., residents Richard Peters, 82, and his wife Darlene Peters, 77, Ipsen said.

Chapman reported that he had to make an emergency landing in a remote part of Point MacKenzie about 5 1/2 miles from Anchorage after the Cessna's engine cut out, Ipsen said. It was unclear how high the plane was flying at the time, she said.

When the plane hit the ground, it flipped over, Ipsen said. A trooper who arrived later noted damage to the cowling, propeller and landing gear, she said.

Chapman called Great Northern Air, which asked another company, Jayhawk Air, to respond in a helicopter. The helicopter picked up the passengers in two trips and flew them to Merrill Field. Three of them -- Adam Smith and Richard and Darlene Peters -- were taken to a hospital to get checked out. Only Darlene Peters suffered minor injuries, Ipsen said. All three were treated and released, the troopers spokeswoman said.

Ipsen noted that the crash was the third in Southcentral in three days with no fatalities.

"We've had everybody walk away from them," Ipsen said. "We've had some darn lucky people."

Reach Casey Grove at or 257-4589.