Friday, June 27, 2014

De Havilland Canada DHC-2 MK. I(L20A), N115CX: Accident occurred June 25, 2014 in Dillingham, Alaska

NTSB Identification: ANC14LA046 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, June 25, 2014 in Dillingham, AK
Aircraft: DEHAVILLAND DHC 2, registration: N115CX
Injuries: 1 Serious, 1 Uninjured.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On June 25, 2014, about 1430 Alaska daylight time, a float-equipped de Havilland DHC-2 airplane, N115CX, registered to RBG Bush Planes, LLC, struck a boat operator during takeoff from the Mulchatna River near Dillingham, Alaska. The airline transport pilot was uninjured, the boat operator sustained serious injuries, and the airplane sustained minor damage. The flight was operated under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 with no flight plan filed.Visual meteorological conditions prevailed. The flight was en route to Ekwok, Alaska.

The pilot and the boat operator were part of a group of four people that included another pilot in a separate airplane and another boat operator in a separate boat. The group was working together to move two 18-foot skiffs along the river to Ekwok. During a telephone conversation with an NTSB investigator, the pilot stated that the boat operator started the boat's motor and headed down river, and the pilot watched him then took off in the airplane behind him. The pilot said that he kept the boat operator in sight but then the airplane encountered a downdraft or other wind condition, and the airplane sank. The pilot said that, when he pulled the airplane's nose back to compensate for the sink, he lost sight of the boat operator. Shortly thereafter, he heard a noise and knew that something had happened. He radioed the other pilot (who had not yet departed) and turned his airplane around and saw that the boat was circling to the left in the river, and the operator appeared unconscious. The pilot believed that his airplane's float had struck the boat operator. The pilot landed his airplane in the river to help, and he used the airplane to stop the runaway boat. The boat collided with the airplane, went up over the float, and struck the propeller. The pilot exited the airplane to help the boat operator, who was subsequently flown to an ambulance by the other pilot in the other airplane. 

According to company maintenance personnel, all of the damage to the airplane was sustained during the post-landing collision with the boat.


Flight Standards District Office: FAA Anchorage FSDO-03 


ANCHORAGE - A Trapper Creek man is in critical but stable condition Thursday, after Alaska State Troopers say he was struck in the head by the float of a plane taking off from a river Wednesday. 

AST spokesperson Beth Ipsen says 41-year-old Travis Finkenbinder was injured in the incident, which occurred on the Mulchatna River. At the time, Finkenbinder was aboard an 18-foot skiff, which was operating in conjunction with deHavilland DHC-2 Beaver floatplanes for a lodge owned by McKinley Capital Management LLC.

“Travis was in a boat and they were shuttling equipment to one fishing camp to another,” Ipsen said. “The Beavers would ferry them from one location to another.”

Ipsen says that when the plane took off, it missed the boat but struck Finkenbinder.

“One of the Beavers on floats was taking off, and it hit a downdraft and it hit Travis in the head,” Ipsen said.

Immediately after the impact, the pilot of the Beaver landed to find out what happened.

“The pilot realized he hit something, landed, and saw the skiff basically turning in circles,” Ipsen said. “So he taxied over there (and) stopped the boat with one of his floats.”

Another aircraft in the group also landed to assist, beginning the process of transporting Finkenbinder to receive medical attention.

“He and another pilot in one of the other Beavers rendered aid to Travis and flew him to King Salmon, where he was first seen at the hospital,” Ipsen said. “He was medevaced to Providence (Alaska Medical Center) in Anchorage, where he is listed in critical but stable condition.”

Troopers were first informed of Finkenbinder’s injuries by the Bristol Bay Police Department at about 6:15 p.m. Wednesday. They in turn alerted the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration.

The NTSB’s chief Alaska investigator, Clint Johnson, says the takeoff occurred between 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. Wednesday. He says the incident will be investigated as an aviation accident.

“It is an accident that involved serious injury in conjunction with an airplane,” Johnson said.

According to Ipsen, there is no indication that alcohol was involved in the incident. She says the Beaver’s pilot has been devastated by Wednesday’s events.

“These guys are friends -- they work together, so as you can imagine it’s very upsetting,” Ipsen said

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