Wednesday, June 01, 2022

Piper PA-18-150 Super Cub, N4024Z: Accident occurred May 28, 2022 in Palmer, Alaska

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. 

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

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

Location: Palmer, Alaska
Accident Number: ANC22LA038
Date and Time: May 28, 2022, 18:30 Local
Registration: N4024Z
Aircraft: Piper PA-18-150
Injuries: 1 Serious, 2 Minor
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Personal

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Piper 
Registration: N4024Z
Model/Series: PA-18-150 
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built:
Operator: On file 
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None
Operator Designator Code:

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site:
Condition of Light:
Observation Facility, Elevation: 
Observation Time:
Distance from Accident Site:
Temperature/Dew Point:
Lowest Cloud Condition: 
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: / ,
Lowest Ceiling: 
Altimeter Setting:
Type of Flight Plan Filed:
Departure Point: 

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Minor 
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 1 Serious, 1 Minor
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: 
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Serious, 2 Minor
Latitude, Longitude: 61.679996,-148.96639 (est)

Aircraft made a forced landing in the Matanuska River, Glacier View, Alaska 

Date: 29-MAY-22
Time: 02:30:00Z
Regis#: N4024Z
Aircraft Make: PIPER
Aircraft Model: PA18
Event Type: ACCIDENT
Highest Injury: SERIOUS
Aircraft Missing: No
Activity: PERSONAL
Flight Phase: APPROACH (APR)
Operation: 91

A Sheep Mountain Air helicopter, left, and a LifeMed Alaska helicopter, right, respond to an airplane crash on the Matanuska River on Saturday evening, May 28, 2022. 

The pilot of a small plane that crashed into the Matanuska River last weekend carrying another adult and a 7-month-old baby told investigators that he experienced a loss of control while landing.

All three people in the plane — members of the same family — survived the crash of the Piper PA-18 on Saturday evening near Glacier View. Numerous people provided help during a dramatic scene that followed.

One person suffered serious injuries, authorities said Tuesday. Two others had minor injuries. No additional information was available.

Alaska State Troopers identified the adults as 27-year-old Logan Snyder and 26-year-old Nichole Snyder, both from Wasilla. Logan Snyder was the pilot.

Snyder declined to be interviewed for this story.

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the accident.

In a preliminary interview Tuesday, Snyder told an NTSB investigator “that while landing at an off-airport location near Glacier View and while on approach over the Matanuska River he experienced a loss of control” before the plane hit the water, said Clint Johnson, the agency’s Alaska chief.

Almost 100 people were close by, including several who were part of a zipline tour and others who had been attending a nearby gathering.

A number of the witnesses “immediately responded” to help as the airplane began sinking into the river, Alaska State Troopers said.

Brett Winterbottom, working the zip-lining tour for MICA Guides, told the Daily News he spotted the overturned plane floating down the glacial river as he rounded a corner. The Snyders were huddled on one of the tires, Winterbottom said. Logan Snyder had the baby in his arms.

Then, he said, Snyder jumped from the plane and began swimming against the current, holding the baby above the water with one hand until he reached a shallow spot where he could stand.

Winterbottom, who had forded into the river, met Snyder there and took the baby from him before linking arms and moving to shore. He passed the 7-month-old to a nurse, Tammy Saunders, who was part of a zip-lining group.

Nichole Snyder, who had also jumped from the plane, swam through the river to the opposite side, where helicopter pilot and Sheep Mountain Lodge owner Mark Fleenor picked her up and brought her back.

Nichole Snyder and the baby were medevaced to an Anchorage hospital, troopers said.

An update on their conditions was not immediately available Tuesday.

Troopers expressed gratitude to “the citizens who provided immediate rescue efforts” to the family.

“I don’t know if the outcome would have been as good if there wasn’t so many people there to help in the situation,” Winterbottom said. “I was just one of many who made that miraculous rescue happen.”

A North Texas school’s trip to Alaska included a life-saving rescue that they believe had nothing to do with luck.

“There was nothing that was coincidental,” Jon Brooks, a chaperone on Grapevine Faith Christian School’s trip said. “We just started scrambling. Bodies started flying. People got to the right spots.”

The group was 100 miles northeast of Anchorage, along the Matanuska River, finishing up a zip line tour when their guide, Brett Winterbottom, saw a plane circling far lower than it should have been.

“This plane that was coming in, we all saw it because it was really low, and we were concerned he didn’t see the zip line,” he said.

Then, it went down behind a tree line.

“I looked at my coworkers and I was like, 'Did that plane just go down, did that plane just crash,'” Winterbottom said.

“We heard this loud just boom,” Tammy Saunders, another group chaperone, said.

Saunders previously worked as trauma nurse for more than a decade in Dallas and trained as an air transport EMT.

“I was like 'does anyone have medical experience,'” Winterbottom said. “And she goes 'I’m a nurse' and I was like 'you, with me.'”

“When I saw the water and the rush of the river, I knew that it was critical that we had to get them out of the water,” Saunders said.

As remote as the area is, Winterbottom says the plane just happened to go down in the one spot in a 60-mile stretch of the river where they could get help.

“It was completely annihilated,” he said. “It was folded in half, flipped upside down and just torn apart.”

Logan Snyder, 27, Nichole Snyder, 26, and their 7-month-old child were all on board, floating down the river on top of the flipped over plane in t-shirts and shorts, according to Winterbottom.

“Babies can’t tolerate the cold at all, and I didn’t even know what his injuries were at the time,” Saunders said.

Winterbottom tethered himself to an ATV, swam in and grabbed Logan Snyder and the child. Nichole was able to swim to shore on her own and was rescued by a private helicopter. 

Saunders quickly tried to warm the child until a LifeMed Air ambulance could arrive. Providence Medical Center, where the child was taken, reports he is in fair condition.

“They were severely injured and traumatized and soaking wet in 35-degree water for like 10 minutes before they were able to like really be rescued,” Winterbottom said. “Just the willpower that they showed and the desire to live was incredible.”

The school trip was designed to be about leadership and faith, and that’s exactly what they believe was on display to keep the family of three alive.

“Thirty seconds later and we lose a number of people,” Brooks said. “We’re down to seconds and the right people being in the right spot.”

On 05/28/2022 at approximately 1834 hours, MATCOM received 911 calls advising of a plane that crashed into the Matanuska River near mile 99 of the Glenn Highway. The plane was occupied by three individuals including two adults and a 7-month-old child.

Nearby citizens witnessed the crash and immediately responded to assist where they found the airplane sinking into the river. Brett Winterbottom of Glacier View tethered himself to his ATV and swam into the Matanuska River and saved the adult male and 7-month-old child. Brett passed the baby to Tammy Saunders, a nurse who is visiting Alaska from Texas who was able to immediately render aid. 

The female occupant of the aircraft became separated and swam herself to shore on the opposite side of the river. Another citizen arrived in a helicopter, collected her, and transported her to her family.

LifeMed responded to the scene and assisted in transporting the female and the infant to the hospital.

AST would like to thank the citizens who provided immediate rescue efforts and saved these three individuals!

1 comment:

  1. Was fortunate to have Sheep Mountain Air's R44 flying tours in the area and people unafraid of cold water ready to rush in.