ANCHORAGE, Alaska – after ~ phoning for assist in resuscitating she baby, a 25-year-old woman on a plane that crashed in far southwest Alaska led searchers hampered by cold and also fog come the crash site.
You are watching: Flying wild alaska pilot dies of cancer
The single-engine aircraft delivering 10 world went under Friday night near the town of Saint Marys, killing 4 people and injured six.
Melanie Coffee that Mountain village walked almost a mile toward lights in the village to accomplish rescuers.
"I believe she"s the genuine hero in this," stated Saint Marys village Police Officer Fred Lamont Jr., one of the dozens indigenous his community and also surrounding towns who comment to the crash.
The Hageland Aviation Cessna 208 turboprop left Bethel at 5:40 p.m. Top top a scheduled trip for Mountain village and ultimately Saint Marys.
Saint Marys, prefer scores of other Alaska villages, is off the state roadway system. People routinely use little aircraft come reach regional hubs wherein they can record another plane to complete trips come Anchorage or other cities. Saint Marys has about 500 people and also is located 470 miles west that Anchorage.
Megan Peters, a spokeswoman because that the Alaska State Troopers, claimed the plane would have actually been flying in freezing rain v a mile the visibility and a 300-foot ceiling. Lamont described conditions as ice cream fog with moisture the stuck come vehicles.
The airplane never reached hill Village. It crashed roughly 6:30 p.m. Four miles from Saint Marys, said Clint Johnson, head of the nationwide Transportation safety Board in Alaska.
Pilot terrycloth Hansen, 68, passengers climbed Polty, 57, Richard Polty, 65, and also the 5-month-old infant, Wyatt Coffee, passed away in the crash.
The survivors contained Melanie Coffee, Pauline Johnson, 37, Kylan Johnson, 14, Tanya Lawrence, 35, Garrett Moses, 30, and Shannon Lawrence. Every were serious injured and also four were in critical condition, Lamont said. All however Hansen and also Shannon Lawrence room from hill Village, troopers said. Hansen was from Bethel, follow to troopers. Details wasn"t available around where Lawrence lived.
Lamont, the town police officer, is additionally trained together a wellness aide and also was working with an ambulance driver Friday. At around 7 p.m., the said, Melanie Coffee called an additional on-duty wellness aide come say the aircraft had crashed and also she essential assistance.
"She was trying to perform CPR to her newborn baby," Lamont said. "She referred to as for help."
Lamont and the driver headed the end in the ambulance come look because that the crash. Other health officials placed out the call for responders. 2 state troopers assigned come the ar joined the effort. People from Mountain town and Pitka"s Point, which are linked to Saint Marys by neighborhood roads, aided search through car and also snowmobile.
"Whoever had a vehicle was out there looking," Lamont said
Fog hampered the search and responders can not instantly locate the crash site despite speaking to the injured.
"We had actually no clue," Lamont said.
Coffee, who experienced chest trauma, tried whistling come alert searchers, Lamont said. She considered beginning a fire to obtain their attention however eventually made decision to begin walking toward village lights. A GCI communications tower through a red strobe led she three-quarters of a mile come the town landfill.
"That"s where everyone found her," Lamont said.
She led searchers back to the crash site. It was not obtainable by snowmobile. Rescuers placed the hurt on stretchers and also carried them out on foot to the landfill whereby they might be transported by ambulance to the village and then flown out.
A coast Guard C-130 can not land because of fog but the hurt were transported by a LifeMed Alaska flight and also two various other aircraft.
NTSB Investigator Clint Johnson said the reason of the crash has actually not to be determined.
Two investigators were on their means to Bethel top top Saturday to accomplish troopers for transportation to the crash site. Reaching the wreckage would rely on weather and also safety considerations, Peters said. No one was at the crash site Saturday morning.
See more: God Bless America Kate Smith Lyrics, God Bless America, Land That I Love, Stand Beside
"There"s no rush to gain there," Peters said. "There"s no reason to threat anyone"s life because no one"s life is in jeopardy."
Hageland Aviation is component of the Era group that includes Era Aviation. Hageland chairman Jim Hickerson said in a statement the the crash is "an unspeakable tragedy for us."
"Hageland is functioning to gather information to prize questions and do what we can to lull the suffering of those associated in the accident," he said.
Get every the story you need-to-know native the most an effective name in news delivered very first thing every morning to her inbox
Coronavirus U.S. Civilization Opinion national politics Entertainment business Lifestyle scientific research Tech wellness TV around other