by Shelly Tradel
December 21, 2004
I found out later that day through calling the local float plane companies, who it was and that, the PILOT NEVER SAW US, THE PASSENGER SAW US, AND THANK GOD!!!!
We would have been dead, the volunteer firefighter, my 6 year old daughter, and myself, dead. We would like to extend thanks to the passenger enroute to Metlakatla on December 4th, had he not seen us we would have been t-boned by a float plane on take-off at 80 or so miles an hour. I was told that the pilot had 30 years of experience and he was always very careful.
Unfortunately this is only one of the many very close calls we have had with float planes over the years transiting Tongass Narrows from Pennock Island. I don't understand how we have avoided serious injury or death from float plane collision, there is so much slow moving traffic, and then there are hundreds of float planes taking off at speeds nearing 100 miles an hour. Do you think a kayaker could get out of the way if the pilot didn't see him? Or maybe one of the tourists looking at the sights may alert the pilot again to save another life. Maybe we should have passenger/tourist boat sighting training.
I wonder what would happen at Phoenix International airport or Seattle Tacoma airport if there were 20 skateboarders, 5 school busses, 15 sports cars, 5 or 6 motorcycles, 3 semi trucks with trailers, and just a few regular cars and trucks randomly driving around the tarmac?
That would be a good comparison to what the traffic flow is like in Tongass Narrows in the summer time. The near accident that is described above happened in one of the slowest times of the year.
Maybe we should have float planes at the AIRPORT, where planes are expected to be.
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