More Small Planes Crash in Alaska

Since the report of two small planes colliding in mid-air near Ketchikan, two more small planes have crashed in Alaska. The two accidents, one near Metlakatla and the other near Cascade Bay and Valdez, took the lives of at least three people. The crash near Metlakatla involved a plane operated by Taquan Air, the same air carrier that was involved in the mid-air collision that took six lives on May 13, 2019. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) issued a preliminary report in the investigation of the first Taquan Air crash on May 22, 2019.


NTSB Preliminary Report

The NTSB released their initial report regarding the Ketchikan mid-air collision. It does not, however, give any probable causes to the accident. It only clarifies the actions of the two planes up to and during the collision. It does state, however, that the weather was clear and that there was no ceiling, meaning that the day was cloudless. The report also states that the wind was at around 11 knots, gusting up to 17 knots, so it was not a particularly gusty day, either. This part of the report would seem to eliminate poor weather conditions as a potential cause of the accident.  Poor weather conditions are often a key factor in small plane accidents.


Taquan Air Suspends Operations

News reports indicate that Taquan Air suspended operations after the crash in Metlakatla.  Officials were quick to indicate that while it is unusual for an operator to have two accidents in such a short time, it is not indicative of any safety or performance issues for the air carrier.


What Does This Mean for Alaskans?

Small plane flights are a reality for many Alaskans, more so than for just about any other population in the United States. The distances and lack of infrastructure make these flights a necessity for work and plain day-to-day life for many in our state. Flying via small planes is more inherently dangerous than flying on large commercial flights, and this fact is well known.  There are many contributing factors for this, including lack of maintenance, inadequate training, and aged equipment. For the last year that statistics have been published by the NTSB, Part 135 aviation (so named for the federal regulations which cover this type of aviation) had 39 accidents, eight of which were fatal, resulting in 20 people dead. In less than two weeks, Alaska has seen three such accidents, resulting in at least nine fatalities. Obviously, stopping flying on small planes is not an option for many Alaskans. The NTSB is investigating these crashes and will most likely come to a quick conclusion about the causes of these accidents. Consumer decisions about which carriers to use should be informed by whatever determinations the NTSB reaches.

Air accidents are still far less common than car accidents.  However, in such a regulated industry, we expect nothing less than 100% safety. If you have been injured in any type of accident, including a small plane accident, the attorneys at Power & Power Law can help protect your rights. Give us a call today at 907-222-9990 or toll free at 833-669-9990 or click here to set up your initial consultation. Put our decades of experience to work for you.