Details slowly emerge surrounding Kodiak floatplane crash

Details are slowly coming to light surrounding the crash last week of a floatplane flying for Island Air.

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According to a preliminary report from the National Transportation Safety Board, the de Havilland DHC-2 Beaver took off from the city of Kodiak Friday morning and was headed to Amook Bay and Zachar Bay. The report says it crashed at around 11:30 a.m.

Clint Johnson, Chief of the NTSB Alaska Regional Office, said the crash happened during a scheduled stop at Uganik Lake, which is 35 miles from the city of Kodiak.

“And the reason for that stop was to drop a mechanic off to be able to take a look at another Island Air airplane that was disabled there just temporarily. This accident actually happened on takeoff when they were departing that intermediate stop.”

Johnson said three witnesses described the scene.

“During the departure to the west there were some pretty strong winds, gusty winds, and the airplane eventually took off to the west and towards an area of rising terrain, and basically, as the airplane got a little bit closer to that terrain, it started a gradual turn to the left. That turn steepened, and then unfortunately, the airplane descended nose first into the shallow waters of the lake on the western end there.”

According to the U.S. Coast Guard, there were three people on board who all sustained serious, but nonfatal injuries, and Johnson says the Coast Guard medevac’d the victims to Kodiak and then to Anchorage.

A Coast Guard press release describes a female with leg and spinal injuries and mentions that the two others had a possible broken hip and head trauma. A State Trooper email says the victims were pilot David Schleifer and passengers Steven and Linda Suydam, all three of Kodiak.

Johnson says, as far as he knows, they are still at hospitals in Anchorage, and the NTSB intends to interview the pilot when he’s well enough to share his view of the events.