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On September 17, 1993, at 1647 Alaska daylight time, a float equipped Cessna 185 airplane, N84627, operated by Ketchikan Air Service, Inc. of Ketchikan, Alaska, hit a large swell and experienced a collapsed landing gear while attempting to takeoff from the Ketchikan Harbor Seaplane Base, Ketchikan, Alaska. The commercial pilot and the two passengers were not injured, and the airplane was substantially damaged. The unscheduled domestic passenger flight was operating under 14 CFR Part 135 at the time. Visual meteorological conditions existed, and a company VFR flight plan was filed.
Following the accident during a telephone conversation, the pilot stated the following, in part: "I started the takeoff run in smooth water. Just before reaching takeoff airspeed, I hit a large swell which launched the airplane into the air prematurely.
When the plane came back down on the water, it was immediately hit with another large swell. I reduced power and taxied back to the dock. I could not avoid the large swells which were caused by a nearby passing boat."
According to the operator's Director of Maintenance, Joe Markley, the right rear float fitting was sheared and the fuselage in that area and the left aileron were substantially damaged.
Ketchikan Air's Director of Operations, Roger Merchant, stated that the results were negative from the pilot's post-accident toxicological tests.