Six Dead In Alaska Sightseeing Crash


A sightseeing flight carrying cruise ship passengers has gone down in Alaska, killing the pilot and all five passengers on board. The Southeast Aviation De Havilland Beaver went down Thursday about eight miles northeast of Ketchikan and a Coast Guard crew found no survivors at the scene. The passengers were from a Holland America ship but had booked the flight on their own according to the cruise line. All the victims were Americans and ABC News reported them as Mark Henderson, 69, and Jacquelyn Komplin, 60, both of Napa, California; Andrea McArthur, 55, and Rachel McArthur, 20, both of Woodstock, Georgia; and Janet Kroll, 77, of Mount Prospect, Illinois. The pilot was Rolf Lanzendorfer, 64, of Cle Elum, Washington.

The accident happened in the late morning. It was raining and visibility was about two miles with moderate winds, according to the Coast Guard. The crash happened in mountainous terrain. The accident occurred in the area of Misty Fjords National Monument, a popular tourist spot in the area.

Russ Niles
Russ Niles is Editor-in-Chief of AVweb. He has been a pilot for 30 years and joined AVweb 22 years ago. He and his wife Marni live in southern British Columbia where they also operate a small winery.

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    • Well, we don’t know if weather was a factor.
      I once took a similar sight seeing flight out of Ketchikan to Misty Fiords. Weather at takeoff was similar to as described in article but got much better just a few miles from the coast. The views of Misty Fiords was great. Flight was generally at a lower level (500′ or less) as we followed waterways.
      Ketchikan gets upwards of 160″ of rain a year and it rains most days. So the weather on the day of the accident flight was not unusual and not necessarily unsafe.