Three people were critically injured in a small airplane crash near Yakutat on Tuesday, May 24. A fourth was treated for minor injuries.
At about 3:15 p.m., Coast Guard headquarters in Juneau received an emergency locator transmitter alert as well as a phone call from a good Samaritan reporting that a single engine DeHavilland Otter had crashed.
The plane went down some 30 miles outside Yakutat, in the woods near the Dry Bay airstrip. Photos by the Coast Guard show the Otter’s crumpled fuselage with its wings broken off.
The rescue was a joint effort between Air Station Sitka, Air Station Kodiak and local emergency responders. According to Lieutenant Erik Oredson at Air Station Sitka, it took about an hour and 20 minutes from takeoff for Coast Guard to reach the scene just after 5 p.m.
Oredson said local responders from Yakutat were first to arrive and had already begun administering medical aid.
“There was already another aircraft that had brought emergency medical personnel from Yakutat and had landed at the airstrip,” Oredson said. “Two of the people had already been extracted from the aircraft, and they had them on backboards at the airstrip there. And there was a third person that was still in the plane.”
A fourth person with minor injuries had already been taken to Yakutat by a good Samaritan when the Coast Guard arrived. The three victims with serious injuries were medevaced aboard an Air Station Kodiak C-130 to Ted Stevens International Airport in Anchorage and transported by EMS to Providence Alaska Medical Center and the Alaska Native Medical Center.
The cause of the crash is under investigation.