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Three dead in plane crash near Juneau

Updated 7:30 p.m. Saturday

Three people died in the crash of a single-engine plane on Admiralty Island south of Juneau on Friday, according to Lance Ewers, a captain at Sitka Mountain Rescue. The only survivor, whom Alaska State Troopers identified as 21-year-old Morgan Enright of Ketchikan, was being flown to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle for treatment, according to a spokesman at Bartlett Regional Hospital in Juneau, where she was originally taken. She was listed in critical condition Saturday.

Troopers identified the victims as 60-year-old David Galla (the pilot), 61-year-old Greg Scheff and 57-year-old Thomas Siekawitch, all of Wrangell. Their families have been told of their deaths.

Sometime before 10 a.m. Friday, the plane's emergency beacon went off, said Eggert, who did not immediately know the exact timing of the crash.

When the beacon was activated, a commercial helicopter diverted its course and found the wreckage while the Coast Guard launched its own helicopter from Air Station Sitka.

The Coast Guard's helicopter was unable to land due to the terrain, so it returned to Sitka to pick up members of the Sitka Mountain Rescue group. The helicopter returned to the crash site and lowered the rescuers to the ground, Eggert said.

"At this time we don't have any indication as to what may have caused this crash," Eggert said.

Lucy Robinson at Sunrise Aviation confirmed the company owns the plane that crashed. She doesn't work there but is helping field phone calls Friday because it's a family business, and said Sunrise isn't commenting right now on the crash.

Corporate records show Galla, the pilot, was also a vice president of Sunrise Aviation.

Two National Transportation Safety Board investigators arrived at the Admiralty Island crash scene Saturday morning, according to NTSB region chief Clint Johnson. Johnson said after documenting the wreckage Saturday, investigators would try to move the plane to Juneau for further investigation.

Enright, the passenger who survived the crash, is an equipment operator at Ketchikan Ready-Mix and Quarry, according to manager Hope Burnette.

Enright was headed to Angoon to work on a ferry terminal project. She and other employees had flown there before, though Burnette did not know if any of the flights were direct like Friday's. There were no other employees aboard the plane, Burnette said.

Enright is the daughter of Ketchikan Ready-Mix and Quarry's owner Loren Enright and Chere Klein, a longtime legislative staffer who ran for the state House in 2014. Enright's sister, Courtney Enright, works as a staffer for Rep. Gabrielle LeDoux, R-Anchorage.

LeDoux discussed the crash on the House floor Saturday morning, saying that Enright had undergone surgery but was not yet conscious. She then asked for a moment of silence for the three dead passengers and Enright's family.

"She's a fabulous, happy person," Burnette said. "She's strong and we're sure she's going to be OK."

Alaska State Troopers said the victims' bodies were removed from the wreckage by Saturday afternoon.

Suzanna Caldwell and Egan Millard contributed to this story from Anchorage, and Nathaniel Herz from Juneau.

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