Friday, September 2, 2016

Cessna T207, N745KP, Alaska Seaplanes: Incident occurred August 14, 2017 in Auke Bay near Coghlan Island -and- Incident occurred August 27, 2016 in Juneau, Alaska

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Juneau

Kalinin Partners LLC
Alaska Seaplanes

Alaska Seaplanes flight ST745 force landed off shore Coghlan Island. 

Date: 14-AUG-17
Time: 14:33:00Z
Regis#: N745KP
Aircraft Make: CESSNA
Aircraft Model: C207
Event Type: ACCIDENT
Highest Injury: UNKNOWN
Aircraft Missing: No
Activity: COMMUTER
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
Aircraft Operator: ALASKA SEAPLANES
Flight Number: ST745

A plane on its way from Skagway to Juneau made an emergency water landing Monday morning. Everyone on board the aircraft swam safely to shore.

Haines resident Luck Dunbar was one of them.

“Well there you are, you’re sitting there thinking ‘This is it.  This is it. Here we go,’” Luck Dunbar recounted.

Dunbar boarded the Alaska Seaplanes flight around 5:30 a.m. Monday. The plane flew from Haines to Skagway to pick up three more passengers. Then, it headed for Juneau.

Dunbar is a commercial fisherman who was on his way to Sitka to get his boat. Once on board the flight, he took a nap. He woke up to what he describes as the engine making an unusual noise.

Soon after, he said the plane started to descend early. He asked the pilot what was going on.

“He pointed over by Coghlan Island and he said, ‘I think we’re going to lay her down over here,’” Dunbar said.

According to the Alaska State Troopers, the pilot was Haines resident Joshua Poirier.

Poirier declared an emergency following an engine failure. That’s according to a press release form Seaplanes General Manager Carl Ramseth.

The troopers said Poirier made an emergency landing in the ocean, about 150 feet from Coghlan Island.

Dunbar said after hitting the water, they were able to keep the plane upright.

“Josh, the pilot, did an amazing job,” Dunbar said. “He kept the nose up. We hit the water as slow as that plane could fly. Still keeping the nose up. By the time the nose hit we had lost enough momentum where we didn’t flip the plane.”

Then, they exited the aircraft.

“I opened the door without a problem,” Dunbar said. “Opened it up wide, reached down to unbuckle. There was water going up my arm pretty quick. I got unbuckled. I looked back, everyone was scrambling, doing their thing to get out of the plane. The back door opened. The pilot opened his door, I opened my door. Everybody scrambled, got out of the plane.”

All four passengers and Poirier swam to shore.

“We swam and swam and swam,” Dunbar said. “Not going to lie, by the time I got to the beach I was pretty exhausted. I had too many layers on. I was feeling pretty heavy, feeling pretty blessed to just relax and have my feet touch the sand of the beach of Coghlan Island.”

According to the troopers, an Alaska Seaplanes aircraft equipped with floats responded to the scene and retrieved the four passengers. Poirier stayed on the beach and was later picked up by Coastal Helicopters.

All of the passengers and the pilot were assessed by Capitol City Fire/Rescue and were released with no injuries.

Troopers said the plane that went down was a Cessna T207 on wheels. Its last airworthiness certificate was issued by the FAA in September 2015. It is set to expire in about a year. The National Transportation Safety Board and Alaska Seaplanes are working together to determine the cause of the accident.

Ramseth commended Poirier’s actions in the incident.

Dunbar thanked the airline, and credits Poirier for the success of the rescue.

“He did an amazing job,” Dunbar said. “He instructed us on exactly what to do at the proper time. We wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for Josh.”

Alaska Seaplanes is based in Juneau and operates daily flights to communities in Southeast Alaska. Seaplanes gained a monopoly on its market after competitor Wings of Alaska shut down in March.

Dunbar said this incident has not deterred him from flying.

“I’ll be flying happily for the rest of my life knowing that can’t happen twice, right?” he said.

In fact, Dunbar got on another Seaplanes flight to finish his trip to Sitka the same day.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated and expanded with comment from passenger Luck Dunbar.

An Alaska Seaplanes aircraft force landed Monday morning near Coghlan Island in Auke Bay on a flight from Skagway to Juneau, but its four passengers and pilot are uninjured. 

Capital City Fire/Rescue Assistant Fire Chief Ed Quinto confirmed the five people were wet — they had to swim to the island — but unharmed.

According to the Alaska Rescue Coordination Center, the small plane’s automated distress beacon activated at 6:35 a.m., not long after its pilot radioed the Juneau airport and reported engine trouble. That account of events was confirmed in a press release from Carl Ramseth, general manager of Alaska Seaplanes.

National Transportation Safety Board aviation accident investigator Noreen Price is working with a Federal Aviation Administration investigator in Juneau to determine what happened. Price interviewed 33-year-old pilot Joshua Dee Poirer by phone soon after the accident.

“He had a complete loss of engine power,” she said.

Three miles from the airport and nearing ground level, Poirer had no way to reach the runway. He turned the plane and ditched in the ocean about 80 feet from the eastern shore of Coghlan Island.

“The pilot did a great job of managing this,” Price said.

Quinto said by phone that his department received a call for help as this was happening. Rescue crews went to Don D. Statter Memorial Harbor and prepared to help, but the pilot and passengers “were close enough to shore that all five people were able to swim to shore,” Quinto said.

A Temsco helicopter also responded and confirmed all five were on Coghlan Island, Quinto said.

Price said the accident happened so quickly that neither the passengers nor the pilot had time to don life jackets.

“By the time they knew they were ditching in water, it was too late,” she said.

According to Alaska State Troopers, an Alaska Seaplanes floatplane picked up all four passengers from Coghlan Island while the pilot, Poirier, remained on the beach before being picked up by Coastal Helicopters.

Coast Guard Petty Officer 1st Class John Paul Rios said the Coast Guard was preparing to assist as well, but by the time it arrived on scene, the passengers had already been picked up. Quinto said the passengers were taken to Alaska Seaplanes’ facility in Juneau, where they were examined by medics and found to be unharmed.

The plane sank after landing in the water, Troopers said.

In his press release, Ramseth said the National Transportation Safety Board has released custody of the plane back to Alaska Seaplanes, allowing it to be recovered, “and we’ll be cooperating with them to determine the cause of the accident. We commend the actions of the pilot through this emergency and are very thankful for the outcome.”

The Coast Guard team responding to the crash was subsequently sent (with Troopers and SEADOGS) to assist a missing hiker on Sullivan Island, just south of the Chilkat Peninsula. That hiker was found on the beach unharmed by a good Samaritan boat, said Coast Guard Petty Officer Charly Hengen.

The crashed plane was a Cessna 207 built in 1974 and registered to Kalinin Partners, LLC. The plane’s last airworthiness certificate was dated Sept. 25, 2015 and was scheduled to expire in September 2018.

Price said the plane will be taken to a hangar where the Federal Aviation Administration investigator and NTSB will examine it and the plane’s maintenance records to determine what caused the accident.

She added that the crash should remind passengers to dress for outside conditions and listen to their emergency briefings: No one expects an emergency, but it doesn’t hurt to be prepared.

Article and comments ➤

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Juneau, Alaska

Aircraft force landed short of the runway, near Juneau, Alaska

Date: 27-AUG-16
Time: 02:17:00Z
Regis#: N745KP
Aircraft Make: CESSNA
Aircraft Model: 207
Event Type: Incident
Highest Injury: None
Damage: Unknown
Activity: Other
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
State: Alaska

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