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Fri, Apr 26, 2019

Wreckage Recovered From January 29 Accident In Alaska

Guardian Flight Beech King Air 200 Went Down In The Water Off Kake

The wreckage of a medevac plane that went down off the coast of Alaska near Kake on January 29th has been recovered, allowing the NTSB to begin its investigation into the accident.

The three occupants of the plane, identified by television station KTVA as pilot Patrick Coyle, 63; flight paramedic Margaret Langston, 43; and flight nurse Stacie Rae Morse, 30, who was pregnant at the time, have never been located.

The wreckage of the plane was located by a search vessel contracted by Guardian Flight, which located a signal coming from the aircraft that was in 500 feet of water. The salvagers used an ROV to secure straps to the fuselage and lift it from the ocean floor. The fuselage, empennage, engines and most of the propeller blades were recovered, however no human remains were reportedly found in the wreckage.

The NTSB posted a transcript of the last communications from the flight in its preliminary report:

  • At 1806:07 ARTCC: "Medevac three lima yankee cross CEMGA at or above seven-thousand you're cleared for the RNAV runway 11 approach to Kake Airport."
  • At 1806:11 N13LY: "CEMGA at or above seven-thousand cleared for the RNAV 11 for King Air three lima yankee."
  • At 1807:43 N13LY: "Three lima yankee CEMGA inbound."
  • At 1807:45 ARTCC: "Three lima yankee roger change to advisory frequency approved."
  • At 1807:48 N13LY: "OK we're switching good day."

There were no further communications with the accident flight.

A preliminary review of archived FAA radar data revealed that the accident airplane crossed the CEMGA waypoint on the RNAV runway 11 approach at an altitude of about 7,000 ft above mean sea level (msl), then turned northeast and crossed the ZOLKO initial approach fix about 5,000 ft msl. The airplane then initiated a gradual descent and continued northeast toward the JOJOE intermediate fix. About 1810, while the flight was between ZOLKO and JOJOE, the airplane entered a right turn toward a southerly heading and began a rapid descent, losing about 2,575 ft of altitude in 14 seconds. The last radar data point was at 1810:36 when the airplane was at 1,300 ft msl and heading 143° with a ground speed of 174 knots.

During a telephone conversation with the NTSB investigator-in-charge, a witness located at PAFE reported that she had driven up early to meet the airplane and observed that the pilot-controlled runway lighting system illuminated about 1809. After about 10 minutes, when the airplane failed to arrive, she contacted Guardian Flight to inquire about the overdue airplane.

An alert notice (ALNOT) was issued by the FAA at 1845, and an extensive search was launched. Search operations were conducted by personnel from the United States Coast Guard, Petersburg Search and Rescue, Alaska State Troopers, Kake Search and Rescue, Alaska Marine Highway Ferries, and numerous Good Samaritans.

On January 30, airplane debris was located about 22 miles west of Kake floating on the surface of the water near Point Gardner in Chatham Strait.

The airplane was equipped with a cockpit voice recorder (CVR) and a Dukane DK-100 underwater beacon.A detailed wreckage examination and CVR audition is pending following recovery.

(Images provided by the NTSB)

FMI: Preliminary Report
Source report

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