Investigating Deadly Year in Alaska Aviation

Annie Feidt, APRN – Anchorage

19 people died in 10 fatal crashes in Alaska from January through the end of August this year. That number is a big jump from the average number of deadly crashes – six- for the same months in the years from 2005 to 2009. A new study from the Alaska Department of Health tallies those numbers and tries to explain why this year has been so deadly in the aviation industry. Mary O’Connor, with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health in Anchorage wrote the report. She says the accident investigations are still ongoing, but there’s one factor that may play a significant role in many of the crashes.

O’Connor said until this year, the number of fatal crashes had been steadily decreasing. She says improved safety equipment is available and commercial air carriers and pilots have gotten better at minimizing their exposure to risks.

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