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Aviation

One person dead in Prince William Sound plane crash

One person died and two were injured when a floatplane crashed Tuesday afternoon in northern Prince William Sound between Whittier and Valdez.

A Cessna A185F Skywagon is upside down in Cascade Bay, 20 miles southwest of Valdez, Alaska, May 21, 2019. Coast Guard Station Valdez small boat crews, an Alaska Air National Guard rescue helicopter crew and four good Samaritans responded to a report of a downed aircraft with three people aboard. One passenger died in the crash. (U.S. Coast Guard photo)

Pilot Scott Johannes, 56, of Wasilla was trying to land in Cascade Bay but crashed into the water, Alaska State Troopers said. He had two passengers. One escaped the plane. The other, 75-year-old William Resinger of Palmer, was trapped inside the overturned plane.

Several good Samaritans in the area responded in boats, troopers said. Resinger was extricated and CPR was attempted but was unsuccessful.

Johannes and the surviving passenger were transported to Providence Alaska Medical Center, authorities said.

The injured passenger was Sol Pitchon of Florida, his employer confirmed. Pitchon works for New Life Solutions, a Largo, Florida-based nonprofit that works with pregnant women.

Representatives for Providence Alaska Medical Center said Wednesday they weren’t able to give updates on the survivors’ conditions.

Troopers were notified of the crash just before 2:15 p.m. The U.S. Coast Guard and Rescue Coordination Center responded.

The three were in a Cessna A185F Skywagon equipped with amphibious floats, according to Clint Johnson, Alaska chief for the National Transportation Safety Board. That agency is sending an investigator to the crash area. Amphibious float-equipped planes have retractable wheels in the floats.

The crash marks the third time in nine days an Alaska floatplane has crashed with fatalities. It came just one day after a floatplane went down near Metlakatla, killing pilot Ron Rash, 51, and passenger Sarah Luna, a 31-year-old epidemiologist headed for a village health care facility. A week before that, a midair collision between two flightseeing planes killed six people and injured 10 near Ketchikan.

Johannes was involved in a 2011 crash in Cook Inlet after his Cessna 185 suddenly dropped to an idle and he made an emergency landing in 6-foot swells, snapping the float struts and causing the plane to begin to sink about five miles from shore. All four aboard -- the pilot, Johannes’ wife and two friends -- survived, unhurt.

The NTSB later determined the probable cause of the crash was the loss of engine power “for an undetermined reason,” according to the final report in the investigation.

[Correction: This story has been edited to correct the number of people killed in the midair collision near Ketchikan. Six people died, not five.]

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