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Alaska sightseeing plane crashes near Ketchikan; at least 6 dead, including pilot, Coast Guard says

At least six people are dead after a sightseeing plane crashed Thursday in southeast Alaska, according to the U.S. Coast Guard. "An MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Sitka located the wreckage at 2:37 p.m. and lowered two rescue swimmers who reported no survivors," the Coast Guard said in a statement. ( More...

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Rico van Dijk 5
Just a reminder to everyone who knows it better, we don’t know what happened, perhaps this pilot was surprised by quickly developing weather? Perhaps it was press on itis? Perhaps it was dumb bravery? Perhaps it was a technical malfunction? Perhaps it was pilot incap? Or loss of SA at the wrong moment, just to name a few. I just find it very sad to see a pilot, with guests and a classic airplane gone. A little respect for those is the least we can do in their memory.
bentwing60 0
Just a reminder to those that don't know it all, any worthwhile endeavor, or assigned mission, entails some element of 'risk'. If life was a sure thing we wouldn't need 'government' anymore. A sight seeing trip is no different and those who provide them are not immune to the same mission urgency that was experienced by many a 135 guy flying checks, freight or whatever in the lower food chain of aviation. Going up the ladder simply meant, don't you know who he, they are, you can't scrub that trip! Reality, a tough nut to crack.

As an aside, I agree with everything you said.

I took one of these flights out of Ketchikan on an Otter. I also flew in a helicopter out of Juneau and landed on a glacier. Absolutely amazing and I would do it again.
mmc7090 1
Morning the loss of a fine machine. The Soul's RIP doing what the love to their final destination.
A few pilots I flew up there with where low time pilots trying to get there hours in. After my second year up there I found a local experience pilot with time up there flying and stuck with him the next 5 years flying in and out of Ketchikan. Granted......he cost more but was top notch and knew the terrain and weather very well up there. Just my opinion but seemed to be a lot of pilots up there just trying to get there hours in. Just my 2 cents.
linbb 0
And again trying to fly while mountains are obscured kills antoher plane load. Normal thing it seems up in AK.
James Simms 3
Reminds me of the Far Side cartoon w/the airline pilots wondering how the mountain goats got up in the clouds
Robert Cowling -2
So tragic. While there, I was offered a sightseeing trip in a helicopter, and the opportunity to land on a glacier. A few months later, one of those crashed.

So tragic. To be on vacation, and having fun, and things go bad. It could happen anytime, but so bad that it happens on vacation. But that means those companies have to be regulated more, in general. Condolences to the families...
jptq63 -9
I would think the cruise lines might want to put a warning to people that less than 5 miles of visibility will not only make it not really a good sightseeing tour, but might end up in crash; i.e. unsafe flying conditions might be a better way to say it. FLY AT YOUR OWN RISK, STUPID.
Tim Eichman 1
Per the article, the flight was an independent flight and not arranged by the airline...
bentwing60 0
We all do anyway, and Life is a 'risk', but Big government is a Bigger one!
jptq63 4
Not against the risk or even the flying in IMC conditions under IFR, I am viewing this as someone was under pressure to do something that seems based on the info provided as unsafe. To help clarify, I view a -- Sightseeing flight -- as something that by its very intent needs VFR conditions for visual viewing, and not possible under the rules requiring at least 3 miles visibility (etc... ok, special VFR) for a VFR flight. Info in article says there was only 2 miles visibility and mist and rain; no idea on the ceilings. Now maybe the IMC came in while in flight, but I would think most people flying the area would generally know about how the weather changes and what actions make the best sense for safety.
Yes, my trip to Alaska was filled with three foot ground fog, and ceilings in the hundreds of feet. The idea of hopping on a helicopter and flying through that soup to hopefully 'see the sights', and land on a glacier, seemed long odds. Hearing others who did take one, the 'sights' were mostly views of the fog roiling below, and, surprisingly, many of the flights didn't happen because of the mostly IFR conditions. Even I would feel loads safer if I can see the ground.


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