NTSB: 4 injured in crash of charter aircraft at remote airstrip near Yakutat

A chartered deHavilland Otter carrying three passengers crashed while landing Tuesday at the remote Dry Bay airstrip about 30 miles southeast of the Southeast Alaska community of Yakutat.

The passengers and pilot all suffered injuries, three of them initially described as critical, according to the U.S. Coast Guard. A Coast Guard helicopter medevaced two people with “critical back injuries” to Yakutat and the Yakutat Police Department transported a third person in critical condition with breathing issues.

A good Samaritan transported the fourth person, reported to be in stable condition with minor injuries, to medical care in Yakutat.

The Alaska State Troopers on Wednesday said none of the injuries suffered during the crash were life-threatening.

Troopers got word of the crash at about 2:30 p.m. Tuesday, they said. A preliminary investigation determined the plane “experienced an emergency incident that resulted in a crash.”

The Coast Guard flew all three injured patients in an HC-130 Hercules to Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport, where they were taken by ambulance to Providence Alaska Medical Center and Alaska Native Medical Center, officials said.

The flight was operated by Yakutat Coastal Airlines. A representative declined to comment when contacted Wednesday.

The pilot and passengers were not immediately identified.

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the cause of the crash, which occurred on final approach, according to Clint Johnson, the agency’s Alaska chief. Few other details were immediately available.

The Coast Guard picked up an emergency locator transmitter alert at approximately 3:15 p.m. Tuesday, officials there said. Command center personnel in Juneau also received phone calls from people reporting that a plane carrying four people had crashed.

Air Stations Sitka and Kodiak coordinated the rescue, even as Kodiak was simultaneously conducting an unrelated search in Cook Inlet with a second C-130, the Coast Guard said in a statement that also commended the assistance of local responders from Yakutat.

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.