Alaska Midair Ends Happily

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An already-grim weekend for general aviation in the U.S. came within a whisker of being a lot worse when two aircraft brushed each other in a narrow pass in Alaska. Authorities say a Piper Navajo with nine people aboard and a float-equipped Cessna 206 were headed in opposite directions through Lake Clark Pass, near Anchorage, Sunday afternoon when a float on the 206 contacted the vertical stabilizer of the Navajo. Damage was minor to both aircraft and both landed safely in Anchorage. "If you have to have something like this, it couldn't have worked out better," Larry Lewis, a National Transportation Safety Board investigator told the Anchorage Daily News.

The mishap came a day after a Florida couple and five of their six children were killed in the crash of a Cessna 421 near Demopolis, Ala. The Teutenburg family was on its way home to Fort Walton-Destin Airport on the Florida Panhandle when pilot Fred Teutenburg reported engine trouble and was vectored to Demopolis Airport for an emergency landing. The couple's teenaged daughter was not on the trip. The aircraft crashed two miles short of the field. Last Thursday, two people were killed when a Mooney M20 crashed into a vacant medical center in Watsonville, Calif.