A Coast Guardsman surveys the situation after an Island Air Piper crashed in the water off the end of the runway at Kodiak State Airport Friday. USCG Petty Officer Sara Francis photo
A small plane crashed into the water short of the runway at the state airport in Kodiak late Friday morning. Coast Guard spokeswoman Charly Hengen said the Piper PA-32 owned by Island Air was on a check ride with only two people on board, a company pilot and mechanic. They have not yet been identified.
Hengen said the airplane suffered a mechanical failure while on approach to land, but came up short of the end of the runway, going into the water about 50 yards from shore. An Air Station Kodiak HH-65 Dolphin helicopter that was already in the air responded, but was not needed to rescue the two men, who climbed out of the plane and waded ashore to wait for emergency responders to arrive.
Hengen said the Coast Guard Fire Department, based at the airport, initially responded to the accident, as did the Marine Safety Detachment, to check for pollution. She said a light sheen was seen in the area the aircraft went down, but quickly dissipated.
Island Air used a front-end loader to tow the plane to the shore, and it was brought to the company hangar at the airport. Clint Johnson, and investigator with the National Transportation Safety Board in Anchorage says the plane suffered substantial damage and the agency is investigating the crash.
There was a thin overcast at the time of the accident, winds were light, and the seas were calm.