Aviation

Plane crashes into Lake Iliamna in Southwest Alaska with 7 on board; minor injuries reported

A small plane crashed into Lake Iliamna on Saturday evening near the village of Kokhanok, resulting in minor injuries among the seven people on board, Alaska State Troopers said.

Troopers dispatch in Fairbanks received a report about the crash, located about half a mile offshore from Kokhanok, around 6:20 p.m. Saturday, according to an online report.

The float-equipped de Havilland Beaver DHC-2 operated by Newhalen Lodge crashed on takeoff, said Clint Johnson, the National Transportation Safety Board’s Alaska chief.

Everyone was able to get out of the plane after it crashed into the water, Johnson said Sunday. Seven people, including the pilot, were in the water while the aircraft sank, troopers spokesman Tim DeSpain said.

Fairbanks dispatch, troopers in Dillingham, the village of Kokhanok and local lodges coordinated to mount a response, according to troopers. Around 7 p.m., “all passengers were loaded into skiffs and taken to the clinic in Kokhanok,” troopers said.

The village is located on the southeastern shore of Lake Iliamna, which is about 200 miles southwest of Anchorage.

It wasn’t immediately clear, based on information from troopers and the NTSB, where the plane was headed after takeoff. The NTSB is working with the lodge to obtain more information and determine the cause of the crash, Johnson said. He noted that plans for aircraft recovery are a “work in progress.”

Lake Iliamna was also the site of a small plane crash in March. In that incident, a Cessna 206 crashed into the lake’s frozen surface, seriously injuring five people.

Elsewhere in the state over the weekend, another floatplane — at Elfin Cove in Southeast Alaska — also crashed on takeoff. No injuries were reported in that incident, which happened Sunday.

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