The U.S. Coast Guard on Tuesday rescued 11 people after their charter plane crashed on the Prince of Wales Island near Ketchikan, Alaska.
A Coast Guard spokesperson said all on board were alive, but some had been injured in the crash. The survivors were transported by helicopter to a staging area on the eastern end of the island en route to Ketchikan, where they were evaluated before being taken to Ketchikan General Hospital.
“This afternoon, all 10 passengers and the pilot of a downed Taquan Air flight have been transported to Ketchikan where they are receiving medical attention,” Taquan Air, which operates the airplane, said in a statement. “We are thankful for their safe transport and at this time our focus is on assisting these passenger, the pilot, their families and loved ones.
“Taquan Air has suspended all scheduled flights today and is cooperating fully with the NTSB, FAA and other authorities to examine every aspect of this event,” it continued. “It is imperative we understand the factors surrounding this incident to help prevent similar ones.”
The crash site is 2,000 feet above sea level in a mountainous area.
Coast Guard commander and Search and Rescue Mission Coordinator Mike Kahle praised the pilot, who had kept the 10 passengers safe while landing the aircraft in the uneven terrain. The pilot called 911 when the float equipped de Havilland Canada DHC-3T Turbo Otter seaplane crashed, and Alaska State Troopers alerted the Coast Guard about the crash at 8:45 a.m. local time.
Chris John, the Incident Commander at the Ketchikan Volunteer Rescue Squad, said weather conditions had complicated rescue operations.