Seven people were injured Tuesday morning when a floatplane crashed as it was departing from Lake Hood in Anchorage, officials said.
The de Havilland Canada DHC-2 Beaver crashed just before 9:20 a.m., said Clint Johnson, chief of the National Transportation Safety Board’s Alaska office. Two of the people onboard were seriously injured and the others had minor injuries, he said. All were taken to a hospital.
The plane’s pilot told authorities that strong wind caused the aircraft’s right wing to rise after it had taken off, according to the Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport Police and Fire. The crash happened as the pilot attempted to make corrections, the agency said in a statement.
The Regal Air plane took off to the east from the lake and crashed into the water at the end of one of the man-made canals on the lake, by where a number of offices and planes are located, Johnson said. The Regal Air office is at the base of that same strip of land, which Johnson described as a finger.
The plane sustained “significant damage” when it hit the water and became partially submerged, the airport police and fire department said in its statement.
All six passengers were visitors from Outside, Johnson said, and the plane was headed for Katmai National Park and Preserve. Regal Air offers flights to the park for bear viewing, according to its website. Officials from the company declined to comment on the crash Tuesday afternoon.
The airport fire and police department responded to the scene, along with the Anchorage Fire Department. Booms have been placed in the water around the plane “for environmental protection,” according to the statement.
Johnson said the NTSB is investigating.
“The Airport Police and Fire would like to thank several good Samaritans that witnessed the crash and rendered immediate aid to the victims,” Airport Police and Fire Chief Aaron Danielson said in the statement. “We are certain their quick actions to help the victims from the water assisted with the quick triage and medical care before they were transported for further medical aid.”
The plane was still in the water Tuesday afternoon, and Johnson said Regal Air was working to move the wreckage onto land. The airport police and fire department wrote that work to remove the aircraft from the water is ongoing, and that Lake Hood remains open for aircraft operations.
Anyone who saw the crash or assisted and didn’t already speak with airport police is asked to contact the Airport Communications Center at 907-266-2411.
[Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly reported that the plane had been taxiing when it crashed, but the plane was airborne when it crashed into the water. The article has also been updated to reflect that there were a total of seven people aboard the plane when it crashed, not six, as was reported to the NTSB earlier in the day]