The PenAir plane that crashed at Dutch Harbor airport, Unalaska, in Alaska’s offshore Aleutian Islands last Thursday, is now under investigation by a team from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). The plane has already been recovered from near the sea where it landed after over shooting the Dutch Harbor airstrip landing, injuring 11 of the 42 passengers, one fatally.
PenAir is marketed by Alaskan Airlines, but is owned by the Ravn Air Group. Ravn is reported to be cooperating fully with the NTSB in its investigation in to what went wrong on the day of the crash.
The SAAB-Scania 2000 aircraft was on a scheduled commercial flight from Anchorage to Unalaska carrying 39 passengers and 3 crew members, including a 10 strong Junior / Senior High School swim team from Cordova City, mainland Alaska. The fatality was a 38 year old man from Washington State, David Oltman, who died of his injuries after the crash.
11 passengers were taken to the hospital at Unalaska, with injuries ranging from relatively minor to serious. The swim team escaped relatively unscathed, although it was reported that two of the students were injured. One of them was reported to have had a shard of metal embedded in his thigh, while another was reported to have broken a leg. All swim team members have now returned home.
The NTSB and Unalaska police have not commented on what might have caused the plane to overshoot the Dutch Harbor runway by approximately 500 feet. It eventually came to a halt at the edge of the sea with its nose pointing downwards. It was probably fortunate for all on board it didn’t get any further. There has been some speculation that the plane was pushed further than it should have done as it landed in strong winds at Unalaska, although the reported wind strength at the time was only 10 to 20 knots, not exactly unusual for the Aleutians at this time of the year.
Initial reports were that the airport and runway were not damaged during the crash, although nearby roads and the airport itself were closed for a time until the plane was winched out of the way by a crane and placed on a barge for removal from the site.
Plane crashes involving commercial flights like this PenAir one are fortunately relatively rare, but when they do happen, they can cause significant and catastrophic loss of life and injuries. It is vital that all crashes are investigated fully to discover what was at fault. Aviation accidents are never entirely ‘accidental.’ There is always a cause. Family members of any deceased passengers need to have closure after the untimely death of a loved one. The injured need full and fair compensation to cover the full cost of medical treatment, loss of earnings and for the pain and suffering caused by a terrifying incident.
If you, or a family member, have ever been involved in a serious aviation accident, contact Nashville based plane accident lawyer, Keith Williams, to discuss your legal options. You can contact the Keith Williams Law Group at 615-313-3999.