FAIRBANKS — All eight people aboard a small plane that crashed on a flight from Fairbanks to Anaktuvuk Pass on Saturday were seriously injured, according to the National Transportation Safety Board.
The Wright Air Service Cessna 208 Caravan took off from Fairbanks about 10:30 a.m. Saturday on a scheduled commuter flight and crashed a little before 1 p.m. about six miles southwest of Anaktuvuk Pass, NTSB investigator Shaun Williams said Sunday.
A notification to the Rescue Coordination Center at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Anchorage just after the crash set rescuers on the ground nearer to the downed plane into motion, Williams said. It was dark when they arrived on snowmachines and took the plane’s pilot and seven passengers to waiting planes, which flew them to Anchorage where the crash victims were still hospitalized Sunday, Williams said.
“All sustained serious injuries. No fatalities,” Williams said. “My understanding is everyone was out of the airplane and in Anaktuvuk by 7 p.m.”
The NTSB classifies injuries on a three-stage scale: minor, serious or fatal. Williams said he did not know if any of the injuries from Saturday’s crash were life-threatening.
Asked if he had any indications as to what might have caused the crash, Williams said, “it’s way too early.” Investigators had not yet spoken to the crash survivors as of Sunday, he said.
An official with Wright Air declined to comment on the crash or release the pilot’s name on Sunday.
Weather at the time of the crash near Anaktuvuk Pass — a Brooks Range community of about 375 people at an elevation of 2,200 feet — was reported as calm wind, visibility of six miles and a cloud ceiling of 4,200 feet, Williams said.
Investigators with the Federal Aviation Administration were expected to reach the plane’s wreckage Sunday, Williams said. Terrain at the crash site was described to Williams as river valley and tundra, he said.
Eventually, the crashed Cessna will be taken to a hangar in Wasilla for further examination, Williams said.
Contact staff writer Casey Grove at 459-7518. Follow him on Twitter: @kcgrove.