After PenAir crash, air travel tentatively expected to resume, Unalaska port returns to normal

A barge moves PenAir’s Saab 2000 airplane that crashed in Unalaska on Thursday. The damaged plane was hoisted from the crash site by cranes on Saturday afternoon. CREDIT LAURA KRAEGEL/KUCB

The airplane that ran off Unalaska’s runway on Thursday, killing one passenger and injuring at least 11 more, has been moved from the crash site, allowing nearby roads to reopen to regular traffic. 

The PenAir Saab 2000 was hoisted up from a rocky bank by cranes on Saturday afternoon and moved away by a barge. The operation was organized by local and state officials, National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigators, and salvage company Resolve Magone Marine.

Related: PenAir Plane crashes in Unalaska; one person is dead, others critically injured

City officials announced the reopening of Airport Beach, Ballyhoo, and East Point Roads just before 6 p.m.: “All lanes of traffic have opened at the three-way intersection near the airport.”

Regular operations at the Port of Dutch Harbor are expected to resume as well, as closures had hampered vessel offloads and other shipping operations.

Related: Passenger recounts crash,”He’s not going to stop, we’re going into the water!”

“Local shippers have a plan to receive inbound freight, including groceries and supplies, for delivery within the community over the weekend,” said city officials in a statement. 

While regular air travel is still suspended, city officials said it’s tentatively scheduled to resume this week. The state Department of Transportation has determined the runway was not damaged in the crash.

“Alaska Airlines personnel have confirmed that their standard operations between Unalaska and Anchorage are suspended at least through Monday, Oct. 21, 2019,” said officials. “The airline tentatively plans to resume normal operations as early as Tuesday, Oct. 22.”

Alaska Airlines markets Unalaska’s PenAir route. PenAir is also owned by Ravn Air Group. Officials said passengers should contact Alaska Airlines at 1-800-252-7522 regarding travel arrangements or visit the airport to speak with someone at the desk.

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Laura Kraegel covers Unalaska and the Aleutian Islands for KUCB . Originally from Chicago, she first came to Alaska to work at KNOM, reporting on Nome and the Bering Strait Region. (laura@kucb.org / 907.581.6700)

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