Plane nose down off Unalaska runway - Must Read Alaska
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Tuesday, July 14, 2020
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Plane nose down off Unalaska runway

SEVERAL INJURED AMONG 42 SOULS ONBOARD

Update: 9 am: One passenger has died in this crash, while nine others were injured. One person was medevaced to Seattle. According to Unalaska officials, the plane went off the runway after missing its first attempt at landing. The passenger’s name has not yet been released, but the death is believed to be from traumatic injuries caused by the crash.

The National Transportation and Safety Board has nine investigators enroute.

Unalaska  Police,  Fire  and  EMS  personnel  and  other  emergency  responders  arrived within five  minutes  of  the  event, which the city’s Public Safety Department said occurred about 5:45. Earlier reports set the time at 6 pm. 

“Unalaska  units  set  up  incident  command  with  state assets  to manage  the  incident  and  assess  life  and  safety  issues. Once  all  safety concerns were identified and mitigated, EMS personnel extracted one patient from the aircraft and completed the evacuation of the remaining passengers. All 39 passengers and crew were accounted for.

“The Unalaska Fire Department transported seven patients to the Iliuliuk Clinic and four other patients  were  brought  to  the  clinic  by  personal  vehicle.  Patient  injuries  ranged from minor to critical. Of the patients transported to the clinic, one was medevaced to Anchorage,  and one  died  of  traumatic  injuries  suffered  in  the  crash.  Next  of  kin  has been notified.

“Law enforcement has secured the scene pending arrival of NTSB investigators, which may arrive as early as today. The runway and vehicle traffic through the area is shut down until further notice.”

Update 10:15 pm:

Alaska Airlines has established a toll-free hotline for anyone who believes they may have a family member or friend onboard. The telephone number, accessible from the United States and Canada, is 1-888-283-2153. A telephone number that’s accessible from Mexico is 001-877-542-6973.

PenAir Flight 3296 marketed by Alaska Airlines from Anchorage to Dutch Harbor, Alaska was involved in an incident during landing at 5:40 p.m. local time today.

There are 39 passengers and three crew members onboard. We’re still gathering information about the welfare of those onboard and the incident itself.

PenAir operates the Anchorage-Dutch Harbor service for Alaska with a Saab 2000 aircraft.

Flight 3296 departed Anchorage at 3:15 p.m. local time. As many as 10 individuals may be injured; people are off the plane and being cared for.

Original story:

A commercial aircraft was off the runway with its nose in the water at the Unalaska/Dutch Harbor Airport this evening. The incident occurred at about 6 pm. Alaska Department of Transportation Airport Rescue and Fire is responding. The airport is currently closed.

Early reports indicate that a high school swim team from Cordova was onboard. (Photo credit Patrick Crandall, from social media.)

Last December, Pen Air was purchased by Ravn. It appears this plane is a Pen Air Saab 2000-17. Pen Air in 2017 brought the Saab 2000s into its fleet. It was the first airline to use the plane on commercial routes.

This plane was manufactured in 1995, and has a turbo-prop engine.

The airport at Dutch Harbor/Unalaska has a runway that is less than 4,000 feet long, too short for Boeing 737s. PenAir operates flights to the Tom Madsen Airport on behalf of Alaska Airlines. The airport is owned by the Alaska Department of Transportation.

How harrowing is flying into the Unalaska airport? Read this pilot’s account of what can go wrong.

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Written by

Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.

Latest comments

  • See the propellor on the engine? The plane is a turboprop!!! Did you write that Suzanne?

    • Lighten up Francis.

      The point of this story is about notifying everyone who may be affected by this accident. It certainly has nothing to do with your spelling of propeller that Ms. Downing was polite enough to let go.

  • Why are you ragging on her? She writes that it’s a turbo prop.

    • The original story said, turbo jet. She fixed it later.

  • Why are we paying for sports travel expenses? What a luxury.

    • Hoo Boy LAL, what makes you think “we” are paying for sports travel expenses? No doubt this will be keeping you up nights as you seem convinced these sports teams are billing “us” for their expenses.
      Again, where are you getting your information?

    • We may or we may not be paying for sports travel. High school sports are budgeted, and that comes from Alaskan money, however, teams do fundraisers to go to far off places and that is not from YOUR money.

  • The Saab 2000 is a twin-engine turboprop and Boeing 737 aircraft have landed on the Unalaska runway in the past by Alaska, and Mark Air, possibly others as well.

    • Both Alaska and Mark Air flew 737-100s in and out of Unalaska.

    • I’ve flown in/out of Dutch dozens of times on 737’s in the 90’s. The runway was slightly shorter back then too.

      It’s always been a tenuous approach/departure in high winds regardless of what type of aircraft.

      The runway was extended several years ago and it’s a good thing too, if not for the extension, this plane would have been 50ft out in Dutch Harbor.

  • A typical libertarian troll that doesn’t know what they are talking about. MQ turboprop is aviation industry vernacular for turbine engine driven propellor. But please continue to show your ignorance through public criticism of those trying to educate Alaska

    • Suzanne first identified the engines as turbo jet. There is a distinct difference between a turbo jet and turbo prop engine. The Saab has turbo prop engines.
      BUT, naming me as a libertarian is unforgivable. You are extremely mistaken,John. I always have been, am today, and will die………….a republican.
      I’m not sure of the exact definition of “troll” but I am a regular reader and commenter on this site.
      As to not knowing what I am talking about”…………I do hold an FAA airframe and power plant rating. Pretty safe bet I know what I’m talking about. Do you?

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