NTSB, state troopers continue investigation of Ravn Connect 3153

Oct 3, 2016

Three killed, including passenger from Manokotak, when Cessna 208B Caravan operated by Hageland Aviation crashed into a mountain northwest of Togiak Sunday afternoon.

A trooper helicopter landed in the vicinity of the wreckage from Sunday's flight, which was strewn across a mountain app. 12 northwest of Togiak. Three were killed on impact.
Credit AST

KDLG:  Three were killed when a Cessna 208B Caravan operated by Hageland Aviation crashed into a mountain enroute from Quinhagak to Togiak Sunday.

The two Hageland pilots and one passenger died on impact, according to two state troopers who were the first to the scene Sunday afternoon. An emergency locator beacon was received by authorities just before 1:30 p.m., and the two troopers left Dillingham in an R44 helicopter to begin a search.

"When our troopers arrived in the area, they noticed that the location was a essentially a mountain, that its peak was in the clouds, and they noticed what appeared to be a wing of the aircraft," said Sgt. Luis Nieves, the supervising state trooper in Bristol Bay. He said visibility was poor but improved through the afternoon.

Wildlife trooper Joe Wittkop and state trooper Justin Hilario landed nearby and climbed for an hour to reach the wreckage. It was strewn across the mountain and there were no survivors. Some of the wreckage appeared burned. Nieves said the cause of the crash is still unknown, but the troopers believed they what had occurred.

"The aircraft apparently hit the mountain at a high altitude probably in low visibility, is what it appears to be right now," he said Sunday night.

Investigators with the National Transportation Safety Board continued the efforts at the crash site Monday.

"As far as the condition of the wreckage, very tough shape, also the location that the wreckage is in, is making our investigators' job very difficult," said NTSB Alaska Region Chief Clint Johnson.

Ravn Alaska put out a short statement Sunday evening.

"Ravn Connect, Flight #3153 operated by Hageland Aviation Services d.b.a. Ravn Connect traveling from Quinhagak to Togiak carrying two pilots and one passenger has been involved in an accident," the company said.

According to Nieves, the company contacted next of kin of the pilots and passenger Sunday, but state authorities were still working to confirm that Monday before releasing identities. The family Louie M. John of Manokotak, the passenger killed in Sunday's crash, were notified Sunday. Friends called in their condolences to KDLG's Open Line Monday.

Reach the author at dave@kdlg.org or 907.842.5281.