Plane lands safely in Point Hope after engine catches fire

Michelle Theriault Boots

An Era Alaska flight operated by Hageland Aviation Services out of Kotzebue was on its final descent into Point Hope on Wednesday morning about 11:40 a.m. when a passenger noticed that the right engine had caught fire.

The pilot was able to cut power to the burning engine and safety land the plane on Point Hope's asphalt runway using the remaining engine, said Clint Johnson, a National Transportation Safety Board investigator.

The 10-seat Piper PA-31 Navajo was carrying four passengers and the pilot on an hour-long flight at the time of the incident.

After passengers evacuated the plane on the runway the pilot extinguished the fire.

Company spokesman Micah Lillard said the fire is believed to have been sparked by a mechanical problem.

The plane is grounded in Point Hope and the NTSB is investigating the incident.

The aircraft was intact other than fire damage, said Lillard.

Reach Michelle Theriault Boots at or 257-4344.

Anchorage Daily News