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Last updated: 5 December 2020
Status:Preliminary - official
Date:Monday 13 May 2019
Type:Silhouette image of generic DH3T model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
de Havilland Canada DHC-3T Vazar Turbine Otter
Operator:Taquan Air
Registration: N959PA
C/n / msn: 159
First flight: 1956
Engines: 1 Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-34
Crew:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 1
Passengers:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 10
Total:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 11
Collision casualties:Fatalities: 5
Aircraft damage: Substantial
Aircraft fate: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:15 km (9.4 mls) NE of Ketchikan, AK (   United States of America)
Phase: En route (ENR)
Nature:Domestic Non Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:Rudyerd Bay, AK, United States of America
Destination airport:Ketchikan Harbor Seaplane Base, AK (WFB), United States of America
A float-equipped DHC-3 Turbine Otter (N959PA of Taquan Air) and a float-equipped DHC-2 Beaver (N952DB of Mountain Air Service) collided in midair, about 7 miles northeast of Ketchikan, Alaska, USA. The five occupants of the DHC-2 sustained fatal injuries. The DHC-3 pilot sustained minor injuries, nine passengers sustained serious injuries, and one passenger sustained fatal injuries.
The purpose of both flights was to transport passengers to Ketchikan from the Misty Fjords National Monument area. Preliminary flight track data revealed the DHC-3 was traveling southwest about 3,700 ft mean sea level (msl) and gradually descending at 126 knots (kts) when it crossed the east side of the George Inlet. The DHC-2 was traveling west/southwest about 3,350 ft msl at 107 kts when it crossed the east side of the George Inlet. The airplanes collided about 3,350 ft msl near the west side of the George Inlet, east of Mahoney Lake.
The DHC-3 pilot stated to the NTSB that the flight from the Misty Fjords area had proceeded normally, and he had descended and was maneuvering the airplane to show passengers a waterfall near Mahoney Lake when the collision occurred. Just prior to the collision, he saw a flash from his left side, and experienced a large, loud impact. According to the pilot, the DHC-3 airplane then rolled right and pitched about 40 degrees nose down toward the water in George Inlet. The pilot stated that he was able to maintain some control and flare the airplane prior to impact. The pilot, some passengers, and some bystanders helped the passengers of the DHC-3 evacuate the airplane and move to the shore. The DHC-3 main wreckage came to rest about 80 ft underwater about 400 ft off the east shore of George Inlet.
The DHC-2 airplane broke up in-flight after the collision, and the wreckage was scattered over water and mountainous tree-covered terrain northeast of Mahoney Lake on the west shore of George Inlet.

Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: NTSB
Status: Investigation ongoing
Accident number: CEN19MA141B
Download report: Preliminary report

» Coast Guard statement


photo of DHC-3T-Vazar-Turbine-Otter-N959PA
Preliminary ADS-B track data
photo of DHC-3T-Vazar-Turbine-Otter-N959PA
accident date: 13-05-2019
type: de Havilland Canada DHC-3T Vazar Turbine Otter
registration: N959PA

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 Rudyerd Bay, AK to Ketchikan Harbor Seaplane Base, AK as the crow flies is 66 km (41 miles).
Accident location: Exact; deduced from official accident report.

This information is not presented as the Flight Safety Foundation or the Aviation Safety Networks opinion as to the cause of the accident. It is preliminary and is based on the facts as they are known at this time.
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