Coast Guard Rescues Pilot After Plane Crashes Near Ketchikan
August 17, 2016
The Sitka helicopter crew located the plane wreckage on the shoreline of a lake on Prince of Wales Island. The sole occupant and pilot of a privately owned 1956 Piper Pacer was located alive by a responding USCG helicopter from Sitka. Thomas J. McIntire, age 30 of Ketchikan received minor injuries during a late aborted take-off attempt when the aircraft struck the rocky shoreline causing the onboard ELT to activate.
The helicopter crew hoisted McIntire and transported him to Ketchikan airport where he was met by awaiting emergency medical services personnel. No serious injuries were reported.
Coast Guard 17th District command center watchstanders received an Emergency Locator Transmitter (ELT) beacon for a single Piper Tri-Pacer float plane - aircraft number N6072D alert. Coast Guard watchstanders immediately contacted the Federal Aviation Administration's Flight Service Station staff in Ketchikan who stated they last communicated with the pilot at 5:15 p.m. but had lost contact shortly after. A Sitka helicopter crew was launched to search.
The location of the beacon was determined to be coming from the Clover Lake area approximately 22 miles west of Ketchikan on Prince of Wales Island.
“EPIRBs and ELTs are absolutely invaluable during emergencies because they instantly alert responders to your distress, provide a precise GPS location and give a description of your aircraft or vessel when they’re properly registered,” said Lt. Kailee Everteze, Coast Guard Sector Juneau Command Center command duty officer. "We cannot stress enough that having the proper safety equipment can be the difference between living and dying.”
The weather on scene at the time of the medevac was reported as 3 mph winds, with 10 mile visibility.
The aircraft suffered damage to the floats and propeller.
The National Transportation Safety Board was notified.
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Reporting & Editing by Mary Kauffman, SitNews
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