On March 13, 2012, about 1040 Alaska daylight time, a float-equipped de Havilland DHC-2 (Beaver) airplane, N82SF, collided with water and terrain approximately 23 miles southwest of Ketchikan, Alaska. The airplane was being operated by Southeast Aviation, Ketchikan, as a visual flight rules on-demand charter flight under 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 135. The pilot sustained serious injuries and the sole passenger sustained minor injuries. Marginal visual meteorological conditions were reported at the time of departure, and company flight following procedures were in effect. The airplane departed the Niblack mine site, bound for Ketchikan, about 1033. Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsisReturn to Query Page
After the airplane failed to arrive in Ketchikan, company personnel initiated a search to see if the airplane had diverted due to weather. A worker stationed at the mine where the airplane departed from initiated a search by boat to try and locate the airplane. He found the airplane partially submerged in a cove, approximately 1.5 miles from the departure point, and picked up the pilot and passenger, who had evacuated the airplane.
During a telephone conversation with the NTSB investigator-in-charge on March 22, the pilot reported that he was departing from the Niblack mine site in marginal weather conditions. Shortly after departure, the weather worsened, and flight visibility dropped to near zero in heavy snow. He attempted to follow the shoreline at low altitude, but was unable to maintain visual contact with the ground. He then stated that he saw trees immediately in front of the airplane, and attempted a right turn toward what he thought was an open bay. During the turn, the right float contacted a rock outcrop, and the airplane impacted the water. The airplane sustained substantial damage to the wings, fuselage, and the horizontal stabilizer.
The closest weather reporting facility is the Ketchikan International Airport (PAKT), approximately 23 miles northeast of the accident site. At 1042, approximately the same time as the accident, a special Aviation Routine Weather Report (METAR) was reporting, in part: Wind 150 degrees (true) at 9 knots; visibility 2.5 statute miles; light snow; sky condition, few clouds at 1,600 feet, broken clouds at 2,800 feet, overcast at 3,700 feet; temperature, 36 degrees F; dew point, 27 degrees F; altimeter, 29.21 in Hg.
About 16 minutes after the accident, at 1056, another special METAR reported conditions at Ketchikan as; Wind, 140 degrees at 15 knots, gusting to 21 knots; visibility, 1.5 statute miles; light snow; sky condition, broken 2,000 feet, overcast 2,800 feet.