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Letters to the Editor

Letter: Plane safety

  • Author: Douglas Groothuis
    | Opinion
  • Updated: June 23
  • Published June 23

I commend the Anchorage Daily News for printing KUCB and ProPublica’s in-depth article on commercial small plane safety in Alaska.

Alaskans are, by and large, hearty and adventurous folk, and our terrain and dispersed population often requires taking risks associated with plane travel. My father, Harold Groothuis, was such a man. In 1968, he was the business manager of Laborers Local No. 341. He took such a risk when he flew with several others to Point Barrow as chairman of the Governor’s Employment Advisory Commission, which was investigating allegations of unfair labor practices toward Native Alaskans. The small plane crashed upon its departure from Point Barrow, killing my father and all but one other person on board.

I do not know what caused the crash. I do know that Alaskans will often have to balance risk with meaningful activity. I hope and pray that all pilots and all pertinent governmental officials will redouble their efforts to ensure as much safety as possible. The stakes are very high.  

— Douglas Groothuis

Highlands Ranch, Colorado and Willow, Alaska

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