Narrative:A Cessna 208B Grand Caravan operated by Era Alaska crashed near Saint Mary's Airport, Alaska. The pilot and three passengers were killed in the accident. Six passengers sustained serious injuries.
The airplane operated flight 7H-1453 from Bethel were it took off at 17:41. The flight was planned to make an intermediate stop at Mountain Village, but did not land there due to deteriorating weather. Night, instrument meteorological conditions (IMC) prevailed at the St. Mary's airport at the time of the accident.
The airplane was seen to overfly the airport at low altitude. Shortly afterwards the flight impacted an open area of snow-covered tundra.
About 8 minutes before the accident, at 18:16, a weather report indicated: Wind, 230 degrees at 7 knots; visibility, 3 statute miles; overcast at 300 feet above ground level; temperature, 18 degrees F (-7,8 degrees C); altimeter, 30.01 inches Hg.
PROBABLE CAUSE: "The pilot's decision to initiate a visual flight rules approach into an area of instrument meteorological conditions at night and the flight coordinators' release of the flight without discussing the risks with the pilot, which resulted in the pilot experiencing a loss of situational awareness and subsequent controlled flight into terrain. Contributing to the accident were the operator's inadequate procedures for operational control and flight release and its inadequate training and oversight of operational control personnel. Also contributing to the accident was the Federal Aviation Administration's failure to hold the operator accountable for correcting known operational deficiencies and ensuring compliance with its operational control procedures."
Controlled Flight Into Terrain (CFIT) - Ground
right wing with ice accumulation
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 Bethel Airport, AK to Saint Mary's Airport, AK as the crow flies is 161 km (101 miles).