By Gretchen Wehmhoff
An Alaska Seaplanes plane headed for Skagway crashed Friday morning during an attempted takeoff from the Juneau Airport.
The Cessna 208 B Grand Caravan carried five passengers and the pilot on flight 501 to Skagway. Everyone on board was able to exit the aircraft and there were no reports of severe injuries. All involved were examined by Capitol Fire and Rescue.
Andy Kline, Alaska Seaplanes marketing manager, said the plane, which took off at 8:43 a.m., had difficulty gaining altitude and when it touched again, one wheel was not on the runway, causing the plane to spin around in the direction it had come from.
According to a press release, Seaplanes has cancelled all flights today, but plans to resume their schedule on Saturday. Flights to Skagway are weather dependent, according to Kline, who referenced a storm predicted for the area this weekend.
The Juneau airport runway was closed temporarily, disrupting other flights into and out of the airport, including Alaska Airlines confirmed an Alaska Airlines spokesperson.
The 208B is one of four Grand Caravans in the fleet. It has a larger under area for mail and cargo.
As of Friday afternoon the plane is back in the Seaplanes hanger and the airline is cooperating with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) Alaska regional agents.
“The plane is in one piece, but it is severely damaged,” said Kline.
Kline said that working with NTSB to ascertain the cause of the mishap means looking at everything, including weighing any offloaded cargo. A slow process.
Kline said that there was some mail on the plane that was headed to Skagway and there is a chance that some mail was impacted or possibly damaged..
The Skagway post office referred media requests to the marketing manager in Anchorage for comment.
Kline says flights to Skagway, and hopefully mail delivery, will resume Saturday, “weather permitting.”
“It’s our job to get the mail delivered. We have it in our possession,” he said.
With the event “we are reminded that we are such a linchpin to these communities. Our priority is our passengers and getting mail and cargo delivered,” said Kline
This is a continuing story.