Flights across Southeast Alaska have been diverted or delayed after a small commercial plane crashed shortly after takeoff on Friday morning at Juneau’s airport.
The National Transportation Safety Board’s Alaska chief Clint Johnson says the craft involved was a single-engine prop plane operated by Alaska Seaplanes.
“It’s an Alaska Seaplanes Cessna 208,” Johnson said shortly after the accident. “Six souls on board. They’re reporting minor injuries at this point right now, but things are very, very fluid, and it’s unfolding as we speak right now.”
Alaska Seaplanes representative Andy Kline said Friday afternoon no one was injured aboard flight 501, which took off shortly after 8:15 a.m. It was bound for Skagway and then Haines.
“We talked to all five passengers and the pilot, and they’ve all been checked out by Capital City Fire and Rescue by the medical professionals there. So no injuries reported and everyone’s in good spirits,” he said.
Kline says it’s too early to say what caused the trouble in the air.
“We know that there was an incident, and the plane ended up back on the runway kind of on its belly and turned around in the opposite direction, so there was a definite bit of, you know, got a little bit in the air and then got spun around. We don’t really know much more than that,” he said.
He says all Alaska Seaplanes flights will be grounded Friday.
“We’ll be working with the National Transportation Safety Board to put together an investigation of it and figure out exactly what happened,” Kline said. “We go through protocols of investigating and looking at the mechanics of the plane, talking to our pilot, talking to our mechanics and looking at what might have happened or what possibly failed or what could have possibly gone wrong on the flight.”
Kline says the airline expects flights to resume by Saturday and is making arrangements to get passengers home safely. Meanwhile, the Alaska Airlines website shows scheduled flights have been diverted or delayed while Juneau’s runway is cleared to reopen.
Correction: The original post said the flight was bound for Haines. It was bound for Skagway first, then Haines.
This story has been updated.