3 killed in Alaska plane crash; searchers find 1 survivor

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — A woman is the lone survivor after a small commercial airplane carrying four people crashed Friday on a southeast Alaska island, according to the head of a rescue group that hiked to the wreckage on a snowy mountain.

The Cessna 206 went down about 20 miles southeast of the village of Angoon, on Admiralty Island.

The survivor was being flown to a Juneau hospital, Sitka Mountain Rescue Capt. Lance Ewers said. He didn't know the woman's condition or if she was a passenger or the pilot.

The three other people onboard died in the crash, Ewers said.

High winds prevented rescue helicopters from landing at the crash site. A Coast Guard helicopter crew was able to lower members of the Sitka rescue team to a location near the site, and they then hiked 400 feet up a mountain through snow to reach the plane.

The commuter airplane is owned by Sunrise Aviation in Wrangell. A woman who answered the phone at Sunrise Aviation said the air charter company had no comment.

Sunrise Aviation offers sightseeing flights and transportation to lodges and commercial boats, along with other services, according to its website.

Angoon is about 60 miles south of Juneau and is accessible by air or water. Admiralty Island is known for its bears.

The six-passenger aircraft left Wrangell for Angoon in 23 mph winds gusting to 34 mph, the Coast Guard said in a release. The plane's emergency locator beacon activated, alerting the Coast Guard that it was in distress. Sunrise Aviation also contacted the agency.