3 Fatalities, 7 Survivors noted in Floatplane Crash in Alaska

On Tuesday, September 15, a float plane carrying a pilot and nine passengers crashed near a rural lake in southwest Alaska, killing three people.

According to the Alaska Dispatch News, the plane crashed into a stand of trees by a lake near the small village of Iliamna. The plane was a Havilland DHC-3 Turbine Otter and was flown by 54-year-old John Furnia of New York. Mr. Furnia and six others survived the crash, but three passengers did not. The departed include Tony W. DeGroot, 80, of California, James P. Fletcher, 70, of California, and James Specter, 69, of Pennsylvania.

The plane was owned and operated by the Rainbow King Lodge and took off from East Wind Lake to take lodge guests and guides to a fishing spot on Tuesday. It went down only 100 yards from the lake. According to local news affiliate KTUU, NTSB spokesman Clint Johnson described the scene: “The airplane ended up off the departure end of the lake, off of east wind lake, and my understanding is it collided with a stand of trees or crashed into tree-covered terrain,” Johnson said. “The wreckage right now is about a thousand yards from the departure end of the lake.”

Representatives from Havilland were on the scene of the crash to work with federal investigators, and the NTSB has also reached out to the company that made the plane’s frame, Viking, for more information. At this time, the cause of the crash is unknown and the wreckage will soon be moved to a nearby hangar for further investigation once the scene is thoroughly documented. In addition to studying the plane wreckage and interviewing the pilot and other survivors, investigators will also take into account local weather conditions to determine what caused the plane to go down.

Rainbow King Lodge displayed a large sign after the crash asking that the media stay away “out of respect for family & crew.” Planes from other lodges in the area known for rainbow trout and silver salmon fishing at this time of year could be seen in the clear skies on Wednesday morning.

The skilled investigators with the NTSB are highly trained to thoroughly investigate all possible causes of plane crashes, but the investigation into some crashes takes a year or more because of the detailed analysis required. In some cases, after investigation proves negligence on the part of a pilot, airplane manufacturer, maintenance crew, or another party, it is possible for plane crash survivors or individuals who lost loved ones in a plane crash to pursue compensation for their damages. To learn more about aviation accident lawsuits, please contact our respected plane crash lawyers today.

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