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Aviation

Wreckage recovered from Southeast Alaska plane crash; investigation continues

  • Author: Tegan Hanlon
  • Updated: September 28, 2016
  • Published July 20, 2015

The wreckage of the Cessna 207 that crashed in Southeast Alaska Friday, killing the pilot and injuring four passengers, arrived in Juneau Monday in two large pieces, according to the National Transportation Safety Board.

NTSB investigator Chris Shaver said he and representatives from the Federal Aviation Administration, Cessna Aircraft Co. and the plane's engine manufacturer, Continental Motors, are investigating what led Wings of Alaska Flight 202 to crash near Point Howard last week.

The plane had taken off Friday afternoon on a short, regularly scheduled flight from Juneau to Hoonah. It crashed into steep, heavily wooded terrain about 18 miles west of Juneau and north of Point Howard, said Clint Johnson, chief of the NTSB's Alaska regional office.

The wreckage consists of two pieces, Shaver said. The cockpit and engine split from the back half of the plane in the crash. Investigators will send the plane's engine to Anchorage for Continental Motors to inspect, Shaver said.

On Saturday, authorities were able to recover the body of the pilot, 45-year-old Fariah Peterson. Peterson, from Birmingham, Alabama, traveled to Juneau this summer to fly for Wings of Alaska. She planned to transfer to Tennessee in the fall, her sister Michelle Ramsey, said Friday night from Alabama.

That afternoon, the Juneau Police Department got a report the plane had crashed when one of the plane's passengers called 911. Emergency responders rescued all four of the plane's passengers, two of whom were later flown to Seattle for treatment.

Susan Gregg, spokeswoman for Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, said Monday that Ernestine Hanlon-Abel, 64, of Hoonah and Sandra Herrera Lopez, 60, of Juneau remained in serious condition in the intensive care unit.

Hanlon-Abel's husband, Tom Abel, listed his wife's injuries by phone from Hoonah Monday evening. She has broken ribs, a broken wrist, a broken pelvis, broken knee caps, broken toes and a broken tibia, among other injuries, he said.

The way she describes it is "'everything is broken but my neck and my back,'" he said. "And, unfortunately, it's kind of true."

Abel will arrive at the Seattle hospital Tuesday. He said his wife is in stable condition and doctors have not found any internal bleeding or organ damage, he said.

"She is expected to recover," he said. "It's going to take time."

Lopez's husband, Humberto Hernandez-Aponte, 57, of Juneau and Jose Vazquez, 15, of Puerto Rico were discharged from Bartlett Regional Hospital in Juneau Monday, according to Jim Strader, the hospital's director of community relations and marketing.

Johnson said he expects the NTSB to release its preliminary report on the crash by early next week.

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