Monday, June 19, 2017

de Havilland Canada DHC-2 Beaver, N930TG, registered to, and operated by, RDM Pilot/Guide Ltd., dba Alaska Seaplane Tours: Accident occurred June 18, 2017 on Big Goat Lake, Ketchikan, Alaska

The National Transportation Safety Board did not travel to the scene of this accident.

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Juneau, Alaska

Aviation Accident Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Registered to, and operated by, RDM Pilot/Guide Ltd., dba Alaska Seaplane Tours

NTSB Identification: ANC17LA032
Nonscheduled 14 CFR Part 135: Air Taxi & Commuter
Accident occurred Sunday, June 18, 2017 in Ketchikan, AK
Aircraft: DEHAVILLAND DHC-2, registration: N930TG
Injuries: 5 Minor, 2 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 18, 2017, about 1330 Alaska daylight time, a float-equipped de Havilland DHC-2 (Beaver) airplane N930TG, impacted water and subsequently sank during takeoff from Big Goat Lake, about 45 miles northeast of Ketchikan, Alaska. Of the seven occupants on board, the commercial pilot and four passengers sustained minor injuries, and two passengers were not injured. The airplane was registered to, and operated by, RDM Pilot/Guide Ltd., dba Alaska Seaplane Tours, Ketchikan, as a day, visual flight rules (VFR) flight under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 135 as an on-demand sightseeing tour flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident, and company flight following procedures were in effect. The flight originated from the Ketchikan Harbor Seaplane Base, Ketchikan, at 1220.

During an interview with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigator-in-charge (IIC) on June 19, the pilot reported the route of flight included a stop at Big Goat Lake for scenery viewing, a stop at Walker Cove for bear viewing, and then returning to the Ketchikan Harbor Seaplane Base. The sightseeing tour flight, which the cruise ship passengers had purchased from the cruise line as a shore excursion, overflew remote mountainous terrain in the Misty Fjords National Monument. 

The airplane landed at Big Goat Lake around 1300 and the shore-based scenery viewing was completed around 1320. The pilot reported that for the takeoff, he conducted a downwind departure to the west, with the wind condition less than 5 knots originating from the east and a temperate of 65°. He then executed a right step turn to the east. Once established into the wind, he applied full power, and by the time the airplane reached the pilot's go/no-go decision point, the airplane was off the water, and climbing between 100 to 200 feet per minute. He adjusted the flaps and power setting for a climb configuration, the airplane traveled about ¾ over the lake length, and he reported the airplane "wasn't climbing efficiently." The pilot realized the airplane wasn't going to be able to successfully clear a heavily wooded area in the intended direction of departure. He decided to lower the nose and he made a turn to the left, and about 130° into the 180° turn, the airplane impacted the water. 

During the water impact, the two floats separated, and the airplane began to sink. The pilot and six passengers successfully egressed from the sinking airplane and swam to the shore. The airplane subsequently sank to the bottom of the lake. A fellow tour company from Ketchikan operating a de Havilland DHC-2 with one pilot and six passengers onboard conducted a welfare check on the accident pilot and passengers after the water impact. The pilot reported he landed on the lake around 1400 and noticed the water was not glassy, the wind condition was about 5 knots from the east, along with a temperature of 65° with sunshine. After conducting the welfare check, he reported no issues with taking off from the lake. A second fellow tour company from Ketchikan extracted the accident pilot and passengers around 1430 from the shore and brought them to Ketchikan.

The recovery of the airplane from the lake is pending at this time.
Preliminary information obtained by the National Transportation Safety Board indicates that Alaska Seaplane Tours floatplane involved in an incident at Big Goat Lake on Sunday afternoon crashed moments after takeoff.

“The little that we know, subject to change, is that one of the wings struck the water just after takeoff and the airplane ended up in the water and unfortunately sank,” Clint Johnson, head of the NTSB office in Alaska, told The Associated Press on Monday.

None of the six passengers or pilot was reported as seriously injured in the crash of the de Havilland Beaver aircraft into the lake in Misty Fiords National Monument about 45 miles northeast of downtown Ketchikan. Everyone aboard the plane was able to exit the plane and reach the shore.

The Alaska State Troopers on Monday morning released the names of the pilot and passengers.

The pilot was Matthew Perron, 30, of Ketchikan, according to troopers. Two passengers, Tim Friedrich, 40, and Catrin Fredrich, 36, are from Germany. The other four passengers were from California: Robert Grover, 63, Debra Grover, 60, Nicole Grover, 30, and Jonathan James, 36.

The incident occurred at about 2:22 p.m. Sunday, according to troopers.

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