Coast Guard responds to fatal plane crash near Old Harbor

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Updated Monday, July 3 at 5:45 p.m. KMXT’s Brian Venua contributed to this reporting.

A small plane crashed near the village of Old Harbor – on the southeast side of Kodiak Island – on Sunday afternoon. The Piper Cherokee crashed just 6 minutes into its flight; it was reported at 3:30 p.m.

Five people were aboard when it went down about three miles north of Old Harbor on Sunday, according to the Coast Guard. 

Two people are reported to be dead. Three survivors were found at the crash site. One person was in critical condition and taken by helicopter to Providence Kodiak Island Medical Center. Two others were injured but in stable condition. Survivors were transported by a good Samaritan Cessna to awaiting medical personnel. Alaska State Troopers also assisted in the call.

A Coast Guard spokesperson said they were unable to provide any additional information about the survivors or deceased on Monday morning.

Clint Johnson is the Alaska region chief for the National Transportation Safety Board, which is leading the investigation into the crash. 

“Preliminary information would indicate that they were on their way back from a lodge in Old Harbor, back to Kodiak. As far as the flight, we don’t know exactly what it was,” he said. 

During investigations, the NTSB looks for possible causes categorized as human performance, mechanical issues, or environment and weather.

The plane was operated by Kodiak-based Vertigo Air Taxi. The company declined to comment on Monday.

Johnson said it’s too early to speculate the cause of the crash. 

It’s a process of elimination – nothing has been eliminated at this point right now,” he said. 

NTSB meteorologists are already looking into weather patterns in the area at the time of the crash. Johnson said they will also question survivors and the pilot as part of the investigation. Preliminary reports will be published on the board’s website in the next two weeks. 

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