Narrative:DHC-3 N197TT was one of two aircraft that departed McGrath for Unalakleet and Kotzebue to transport hunting camp supplies. Instrument meteorological conditions consisting of mist, fog, and smoke, prevailed in the area of the accident. Because of this, the Otter flew about 500 to 1,000 feet above the ground. Suddenly a mountain ridge appeared in front of the airplane. The pilot banked the airplane to the left, and added engine power. A few seconds later the airplane touched trees and descended into the ground, coming to rest upright. The survivors spent two nights at the wreckage under heavy forest fire smoke and severe weather before they were spotted by rescue crews.
PROBABLE CAUSE: "The pilot's inadequate in-flight planning/decision making, his continued VFR flight into instrument meteorological conditions, and his failure to maintain obstacle clearance. Factors contributing to the accident were low ceilings due to smoke, rain, and mist."
VFR flight in IMC
Controlled Flight Into Terrain (CFIT) - Ground
» Anchorage Daily News
This map shows the airport of departure and the intended destination of the flight. The line between the airports does not
display the exact flight path.
Distance from McGrath Airport, AK to Unalakleet Airport, AK as the crow flies is 276 km (173 miles).