Alaska Air Carrier Suspends Operations After Being Involved in Two Fatal Crashes in One Week
The Alaskan airline whose planes were involved in two fatal crashes in a week has suspended operations, Taquan Air announced on Tuesday.
Six passengers died in a mid-air collision on May 13, and a pilot and one passenger died Monday after a plane crashed into Metlakatla Harbor in southeastern Alaska, NBC News reported.
“As you can imagine, the past 24 hours have been incredibly overwhelming, and we are reeling from not only the incident yesterday, but also from last week,” the airline said in a statement released on its website.
“Our priority has been our passengers and their families and our internal staff and pilots. We have voluntarily suspended all of our operations until further notice,” said the air carrier, which calls itself one of the most successful floatplane operators in Alaska. It operates in the Ketchikan area, where both crashes occurred.
The causes of both deadly plane crashes are currently under investigation.
On Monday, the plane was landing and touched down in the harbor when the right float “dug in” to the water, causing the plane to cartwheel, the chief of the National Transportation Safety Board’s Alaska office, Clint Johnson, told NBC.
The plane lost its right wing and ultimately landed upside-down and partially submerged underwater, Johnson said Tuesday.
“The boats in the area obviously responded, tried to get the folks out,” Johnson said to the outlet of rescue attempts. “Unfortunately, that didn’t work out.”
The right wing has yet to be recovered as of Wednesday.
Last week, a Taquan plane collided mid-air with a Mountain Air plane, with six passengers dying out of a total of 16 aboard the two planes. The remaining 10 passengers were rescued, according to officials.
The airline has been involved in a handful of plane crashes in the area, with a non-fatal crash occurring back in July 2018 and five people killed in a 2007 crash.
Taquan Airlines, which provides sightseeing tours as well as commercial flights, has since suspended operations following the two plane crashes this month.