Three still hospitalized after forestry plane crash in Aniak

The remains of a Forestry plane that crashed during takeoff in Aniak on Thursday, May 28. (Courtesy of Dave Cannon)

Three people are still in the hospital recovering from injuries sustained in a plane crash that happened during takeoff in Aniak on May 28. Federal officials say that engine failure caused an Alaska Division of Forestry plane to plummet into a pool of water in a gravel pit off the end of the runway.

Clint Johnson, regional chief for the National Transportation Safety Board, said that the Aero Commander 500 Shrike had stopped in Aniak to refuel before heading to Soldotna.

Alaska Division of Forestry spokesperson Tim Mowry said that the pilot, Mark Jordan, and the three passengers on board survived with non-life threatening injuries. The pilot and two of the passengers, Albert Simon from Hooper Bayand Kelly Kehlenbach from Aniak are still recovering from surgeries as of June 1. Craig Friday from Hooper Bay have been released. 

RELATED: Forestry plane with four aboard crashes at takeoff in Aniak

The Division of Forestry employed Jordan, while the passengers were seasonal firefighters from Hooper Bay and Aniak that the state employs during fire season. The four were on their way to Soldotna to provide backup support for wildland firefighters in that area. Mowry says that the region is under high fire danger.

Meanwhile, state agencies have removed the plane from the pit and are transporting it back to Anchorage. Mowry said that the plane is unsalvagable. NTSB expects to have a preliminary report out in two weeks.

The Division of Forestry misstated the number of people that are still hospitalized. The article has been updated to reflect the correct information. 

Previous articleSen. Murkowski pushes for an additional $1 billion in federal fisheries relief funds
Next articleAs the University of Alaska grapples with budget cuts, its leader may leave