Coast Guard rescues 2 from second Misty Fjords floatplane crash

View of a lake in the Misty Fjords National Monument on Aug. 1, 2021. (Molly Lubbers/KRBD)

Two people escaped serious injury Saturday afternoon after their floatplane crashed during takeoff in the Misty Fjords National Monument, the U.S. Coast Guard said.

The crash site — about 40 miles southeast of Ketchikan — is in the same vicinity as Thursday’s fatal sightseeing crash that claimed six lives.

The Cessna 180 crashed Saturday near a public recreational cabin at Humpback Lake. The plane is privately owned and was not part of a charter tour, said Coast Guard Petty Officer Melissa McKenzie.

A distress call via satellite phone was received at 2:45 p.m. shortly after the crash, she said, adding that the party was well prepared for an emergency.

“They actually had a personal locator beacon that they were able to set off that basically led our responders to their exact location,” McKenzie told KRBD on Saturday evening. “And they also had a dry bag that had clothes and food that they took with them to the shore when they swam from the plane.”

An MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter from Coast Guard Air Station Sitka arrived at the U.S. Forest Service cabin, and a rescuer hoisted the apparently uninjured people up. They were transferred to emergency personnel waiting in Ketchikan, she said.

It’s unclear what went wrong on takeoff. Weather conditions on scene were about 65 degrees with light winds. Visibility was about 10 miles with cloud ceilings at 5,000 feet.

Misty Fjords National Monument is a popular destination for flightseeing tours. Since 2015, at least 21 people — including six last Thursday — have been killed in crashes in the area.

Also on Saturday, authorities released the names of the five cruise ship visitors and the pilot killed in Thursday’s crash.

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