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Aviation

4 passengers who died in Southwest Alaska plane crash lived in Kipnuk

  • Author: Tess Williams
  • Updated: February 13
  • Published February 13

Alaska State Troopers on Thursday identified the four passengers who died in a Yute Commuter Service plane crash earlier this month in Southwest Alaska as four residents of the village of Kipnuk.

Among those killed in the Feb. 6 crash were Carrie Peter, 45, and her son Quintin Peter, 18; Charlie Carl, 66; and Donna Mesak, 42. All four were headed home to Kipnuk, which has about 650 residents.

Pilot Tony Matthews, 34, also died in the crash.

The plane crashed about 12 miles southwest of Tuntutuliak. The flight took off from Bethel and was scheduled to land in Kipnuk, about 100 miles to the southwest.

First responders reached the scene by helicopter on the afternoon of crash and confirmed there were no survivors. One of the bodies was recovered that night.

A recovery crew returned to the site the next day amid temperatures of 40 degrees below zero, troopers said.

The wreckage is in an area of flat, snow-covered tundra, Clint Johnson, Alaska chief for the National Transportation Safety Board, said Friday. The site is accessible only by snowmachine and air.

Yute is a commuter airline that flies throughout the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta, according to its website.

The company canceled flights for three days after the crash. The airline had posted on Facebook the morning of the crash that flights from Bethel were “on hold due to a low ceiling.”

The company had several accidents during the past year.

In April, a Piper PA-32 lost engine power after leaving Aniak Airport. The pilot and three passengers were not injured when the plane made a forced landing on a “tundra-covered meadow,” according to a preliminary report from the NTSB.

A Yute Commuter Service plane crashed after takeoff and landed in Goodnews Bay in November, an NTSB report said. The pilot and another company pilot who was training climbed on top of the significantly damaged aircraft after the crash and waited in water almost up to their waists until a rescue boat arrived 20 minutes later, the report said.

Last week, Yute offered to deliver food to families of the crash victims. A spokesperson for the company could not immediately be reached for comment this week.

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