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Pilot survives crash of mail-run flight south of Utqiagvik

The pilot and sole occupant of a cargo plane on a mail run survived a crash south of Utqiagvik on Wednesday morning, officials say.

The pilot wasn't injured when the Cessna 208B Caravan operated by Hageland Aviation crashed on frozen tundra about 3 miles from the Atqusak village runway, according to a statement from Ravn Connect. Hageland is one of three carriers under the Ravn brand.

"For reasons that are unknown at this time, our aircraft was forced into a steep descent and made a very hard landing," said the statement, provided by Ravn spokesman William Walsh.

The pilot was the only person on the plane.

The National Transportation Safety Board was notified of the crash around 9:15 a.m., investigator Mike Hodges said. The pilot stayed in touch with search-and-rescue crews before he was located.

A North Slope Borough Search and Rescue helicopter picked up the pilot, according to borough spokesman D.J. Fauske. He was in Utqiagvik by around 11 a.m.

"He's walking around at the clinic right now," Fauske said in a message Wednesday morning.

Hodges said Wednesday afternoon that he was still looking into the incident and had no additional information.

The crash came a day after Hageland faced federal scrutiny at a Washington, D.C., probable cause hearing on a 2016 fatal crash near Togiak that killed two pilots and a passenger.

The National Transportation Safety Board cited a crew decision not to divert in bad conditions but also pointed to a lack of proper training from Hageland and faulted the Federal Aviation Administration for remote airports ill-equipped to help pilots avoid bad weather.

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