All 6 people aboard small plane survive crash and fire at Bethel airport

A plane operated by Grant Aviation crashed on landing at Bethel’s airport Monday afternoon, but the pilot and all five passengers escaped the fiery wreckage, authorities say.

The crash occurred around 3:15 p.m. as the plane was landing after a flight from Nelson Island.

A video taken from the runway shows heavy smoke billowing from the wreckage and just the upturned tip of a wing showing.

But everyone got out as the plane burned, officials said.

The Bethel Fire Department arrived to find airport fire crews spraying down the wreckage, according to firefighter Thomas Haviland. The department helped put out a fire that spread into the grass.

An ambulance transported three people to the hospital with injuries described as not life-threatening, Haviland said. Staff at Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta Regional Hospital declined to provide an update of their conditions on Tuesday morning.

The three others involved -- the pilot and two passengers -- were taken to the hospital for evaluation, according to Grant Aviation president Robert Kelley.

Kelley said he couldn’t talk about what caused the crash. Grant temporarily suspended operations in Bethel on Monday but resumed normal flights Tuesday.

The company is cooperating with the National Transportation Safety Board, he said.

Investigator Noreen Price hoped to talk with the pilot Tuesday as the agency starts trying to find out what happened as the plane approached the airport, NTSB Alaska chief Clint Johnson said.

Check back for updates on this developing story.

Zaz Hollander

Longtime ADN reporter Zaz Hollander is based in the Mat-Su and is currently focused on coverage of the coronavirus in Alaska. She also covers the Mat-Su region, aviation and general assignments. Contact her at zhollander@adn.com.