UPDATE: Critical injuries reported after plane goes off runway in Unalaska

The nose of PenAir’s Saab 2000 airplane, photographed Thursday, Oct. 17 near the intersection of Airport Beach and Ballyhoo Roads. (Photo by Laura Kraegel/KUCB)

Updated Oct 18, 9 a.m: For additional updates on this story, go here.

Updated Oct. 18, 6 a.m.

Two passengers were critically injured — and 10 others received some level of medical attention — after a PenAir airplane arriving from Anchorage went off the runway at Unalaska’s airport on Thursday evening, according to PenAir officials.

“PenAir Flight 3286 (marketed by Alaska Airlines) departed Anchorage for Dutch Harbor and upon landing at approximately 5:40 p.m. went off the end of the runway,” said a PenAir statement released around 11 p.m. “We have been informed that two passengers were critically injured and ten others are receiving medical care in Unalaska. All others passengers are being cared for.”

There were 39 passengers and three crew members on the flight, according to PenAir.

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to all of our passengers and crew, and the family members of everyone with loved ones on this flight,” said PenAir CEO Dave Pflieger in the statement. 

Passengers included a school swim team and chaperones from Cordova, according to a Thursday evening Facebook post by the Cordova School District. The group is safe, “albeit a bit shaken up,” according to the post by Superintendent Alex Russin.

(Image via Facebook)

City Manager Erin Reinders was at the airport when the Thursday evening flight arrived. She said the plane came from the west side of Mount Ballyhoo, which stands above the runway with water on either side.

“We watched one [landing] attempt, and it was going with the wind, [approaching] from the Hog Island side,” said Reinders. “Then it went back up [for] a second attempt. It went with the wind again. It did land, so all the wheels were on the ground. And then it wasn’t stopping. It was slowing down, and it was apparent that it was slowing down, but it wasn’t stopping.”

PenAir officials said the airline, which is owned by Ravn Air Group, “is in close contact and fully cooperating with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), which will be investigating this accident.”

NTSB spokesperson Keith Holloway confirmed the inquiry in an email, sharing a Twitter post by the agency: “NTSB sending team of 9 to Unalaska, AK to investigate Oct. 17, 2019, accident involving Peninsula Air #3296, Saab SB20, that overran runway on landing.”

“The team’s exact arrival [date] is unknown at this time,” added Holloway.

Airline officials also said: “PenAir and Ravn have established a family assistance line for everyone who has loved ones on this flight. Please call 1-800-757-4784 if you need any additional information.”

This is a developing story; check back for updates.

Kirsten Swann contributed reporting.

Laura Kraegel covers Unalaska and the Aleutian Islands for KUCB . Originally from Chicago, she first came to Alaska to work at KNOM, reporting on Nome and the Bering Strait Region. (laura@kucb.org / 907.581.6700)

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