A Yute Commuter Service airplane landed on a frozen lake near Pilot Station on Jan. 7, possibly due to a partial loss of power to the engine. The airline is reporting no injuries and no damage to the plane.
A YCS Cessna 172 was heading from Bethel to Pilot Station mid-afternoon with the pilot and two passengers on board.
YCS Director of Operations Terry Cratty said that the lake that the pilot landed on was a few miles away from Pilot Station. It was clear of snow because the windy weather had blown it clear recently. He declined to comment why the pilot landed there.
“All I can do is tell you everybody’s safe and everything’s okay. And the aircraft is unharmed and things are good,” Cratty said. “The aircraft was safely landed on the lake, and we had another aircraft go in and pick the people up and move them to their destination.”
Cratty said that the airline dispatched another plane from Bethel, which picked up the pilot, the passengers and their luggage from the lake and transported them to Pilot Station. He declined to say whether the original plane was still on the lake near Pilot Station.
The National Transportation Safety Board is looking into the incident. NTSB Alaska Chief Clint Johnson said that based on preliminary findings, the YCS pilot landed on the lake as a precautionary measure after a partial loss of power to the engine.