Three rescued by boat after LifeMed plane crashes in Unalaska

The S/V Makushin Bay on scene after a LifeMed medevac King Air plane crashed and sank off the runway at the Unalaska Airport on Thursday morning. All three LifeMed crew members were rescued. (Megan Dean/KUCB)

A LifeMed Alaska plane crashed on takeoff around 8 a.m. Thursday from the Unalaska Airport, city officials said. The plane remains in the water between the runway and Hog Island, which is roughly a mile offshore.

The LifeMed medevac King Air plane was headed to Adak to medevac a patient.

Acting City Manager Marjie Veeder confirmed no patients were on board with the three-person LifeMed crew at the time of the crash.

The plane has sunk and is currently discharging jet fuel, according to the local MSD Coast Guard. MSD said they are in contact with the owner of the aircraft, Arrow Air, to activate pollution remediation. The local unit is in charge of that effort.

Veeder said the city’s emergency responders – including the Unalaska Fire Department, EMS, and public safety personnel – worked quickly.  

“The crash was at about 8 a.m this morning and the 911 call came in at 8:04,” said Veeder. “Our dispatchers immediately dispatched the ports vessel Tidebreaker to the scene, and the three persons on board the plane – who were all LifeMed crew and no patients – had self-evacuated to a life raft. They were transferred to the Tidebreaker at 8:24 a.m. So within 24 minutes of the crash, and within 20 minutes of the 911 call, all three people on board the plane were in the port’s vessel on the way to the Carl E. Moses harbor.”

The two ambulances arrived at the clinic by 8:55 a.m.

“The condition of the crew is not available at this time, but they are being transported to Anchorage for further evaluation,” said Veeder.

The runway was reopened at around 9 a.m, but the waters remain closed to vessel traffic between the northwest end of the runway and Hog Island. 

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has been notified and will handle the investigation into the crash. The cause of crash is still unknown.

This is a developing story. Check back here for updates.

Anchorage-based reporter Nat Herz contributed to this story.