NTSB Press Release

National Transportation Safety Board
Office of Public Affairs


NTSB INVESTIGATING AIR TOUR ACCIDENT IN KETCHIKAN, AK

August 21, 2007

The National Transportation Safety Board sent a team of investigators to Ketchikan, Alaska to investigate a commercial air tour airplane that crashed and burned, killing five of the nine persons on board.

On August 16, 2007, about 6:00 pm Alaska Daylight Time, a single-engine de Havilland Beaver DHC-2 float-equipped airplane, N345KA, operated by Seawind Aviation, impacted terrain during climb on a Part 135 commercial air tour flight. The flight had departed from Traitor’s Cove located about 20 miles north of Ketchikan, Alaska, and was returning to Ketchikan.

Air safety investigator Clint Johnson from the Safety Board’s Alaska Regional Office in Anchorage is the designated Investigator-in-Charge of the 4-member team.  Member Debbie Hersman accompanied the team and served as spokesperson for the investigation. 

The investigative team has completed the majority of the on-site portion of the investigation.  The team will continue to examine pilot and maintenance logbook information.  A Safety Board survival factors specialist is traveling to Seattle to interview the survivors.    

Investigators conducted a cursory examination of the wreckage at the accident site; however, access was hindered by the steep, heavily wooded terrain.  The wreckage will be removed and taken to a facility for detailed documentation.  The majority of the airplane, including the cockpit, was destroyed by fire. 

An NTSB meteorologist conducted interviews of personnel at a nearby National Weather Service office, obtained weather data, reviewed air tour operations in regard to weather briefings, verified wind-monitoring equipment, and documented the topography. Reports indicate that the weather was abnormally warm with a moist air mass, which produced several days of thunderstorms across the region. These low-topped thunderstorms were being reported to cause strong outflow winds and small hail.   

Investigators will attempt to obtain additional data that will help define the performance of the airplane during the accident sequence, including airspeed and bank angles. 

Photos from the scene:
NTSB Investigator Scott Erickson examines wreckage of tour plane that crashed near Ketchikan, Alaska
Ketchikan accident scene photo: Shows a broken wing of the plane and an NTSB investigator clearing the trees around it Ketchikan accident scene photo: Shows the broken nose of the plane and an NTSB investigator recording his observations

NTSB Media Contact:
Keith Holloway
(202) 314-6100
hollowk@ntsb.gov  

 

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The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is an independent federal agency charged with determining the probable cause
of transportation accidents, promoting transportation safety, and assisting victims of transportation accidents and their families.