Last updated: 05:17 PM ET, Sat July 18 2015

Wings of Alaska Flight Crashes Into Mountain

Impacting Travel | Michael Isenbek | July 18, 2015

Wings of Alaska Flight Crashes Into Mountain

Photo courtesy of Thinkstock

Wings of Alaska Flight 202, a Cessna 207 with four passengers and a pilot, flying from Juneau to Hoonah, Alaska, has crashed, KTOO Public Media reported.

The regional air carrier’s website showed the flight was slated to land at Hoonah at 1:05 p.m. Friday after departing Juneau at 12:45 p.m. But Wings executive vice president Tim Sieber told KTOO that the flight was reported missing.

Alaska State Trooper spokeswoman Beth Ipsen said to KTOO that a 911 call came in at 1:32 p.m., and the individual on the line was identified as a passenger on the flight.

As per the KTOO report, at around 1:30 p.m., Flight 202 crashed into the side of a mountain north of Point Howard on the mainland at an elevation of 1,330 feet, about 18 miles west of Juneau. One person was killed and four were injured.

Fox 6 WBRC confirmed the identity of the fatality as the pilot, 45-year-old Fariah Peterson, originally from Alabama. The news station also identified the four passengers as Humberto Hernandez, 57, and his wife, Sandra Herrera, 60, both of Juneau; and Jose Vasquez, 15, of Puerto Rico, and 64-year-old Hoonah resident Ernestine Hanlon-Able.

After a precarious hoisting operation conducted by the Coast Guard and Juneau Mountain Rescue, Coast Guard spokesman Kip Wadlow said to KTOO that the four survivors were flown by MH60 Jayhawk helicopter to Juneau, and then transported to Bartlett Regional Hospital for medical treatment.

Bartlett spokesman Jim Strader said two of the passengers are in stable condition. One in serious condition, and verified that Hanlon-Able is the passenger in critical condition.

Rob McKinney, President and CEO of Wings of Alaska commented about the death of Peterson in a recent statement: “All of us at Wings of Alaska and SeaPort Airlines are deeply saddened by the accident, and the confirmation of the loss of pilot Fariah Peterson,” McKinney said. “We have lost a member of our work family, and our thoughts and prayers continue for everyone involved and touched by this tragedy.”

The release also said all Wings of Alaska Saturday flights have been canceled.

The Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board investigations are imminent.

Hoonah mayor Ken Skaflestad told KTOO that the plane crash is devastating.

“We rely on air travel so much being from an island out here that it concerns us whenever we hear of plane crashes anywhere. This is very close to home and the whole town is curious and anxious to know more,” Skaflestad said.

Wings of Alaska, part of Portland, Oregon-based SeaPort Airlines, and is located in Juneau with regularly scheduled flights to Gustavus, Haines, Hoonah and Skagway.

The accident comes less than a month after a DeHavilland DHC-3 Otter turboprop plane operated by Promech Air crashed near Ketchikan, Alaska during a sightseeing flight with eight Holland America cruise ship passengers aboard. Everyone, plus the pilot, was killed.

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