Lori Townsend, APRN – Anchorage
GCI President and CEO Ron Duncan spoke to APRN today about the Monday night crash that claimed the life of Senator Ted Stevens, GCI senior Vice President Dana Tindall, Tindall’s 16 year old daughter Corey, William Phillips and the pilot Terry Smith.
Frequently fighting tears, Duncan said all those on board were close, long time friends stretching back 30 years.
Duncan said last Saturday, August 7, the group had arrived at GCI’s Agulowak Retreat for four days of fishing. On the morning of the crash, pilot Terry Smith said there was too much turbulence and he felt they should wait for a while before heading to the fish camp. They had a late lunch, and pilot Smith determined things had improved so he took off with the eight passengers for the Nushagak river to fish for kings.
Duncan and his wife, who is a doctor, decided they would take off in their own plane and do some flightseeing that day. Duncan said they flew about a 60-mile circle and the weather was extremely variable from places where the ceiling was 3,000-feet to areas where the rain was beating hard and visibility was extremely reduced. He said the weather patterns were changing rapidly.
After they returned to Agulowak and sometime after 6:00 p.m. he was told that a call to the fish camp to see when the fishing party would return for dinner revealed that they had never arrived. He said they called local air services to start looking for them. His wife grabbed her medical supplies and they went up also. A Bristol Bay pilot radioed to tell Duncan to fly to the south of the main flight path as he was flying along the north side.
Duncan said a memorial service for Dana Tindall is scheduled for 4:00 p.m Monday at the Dena’ina Convention Center in Anchorage.
Download Audio (MP3)