Floatplane crashes while landing in Juneau harbor

Posted: Friday, July 12, 2002

JUNEAU (AP) -- A floatplane on its way to pick up tourists for sightseeing tours crashed while landing in Juneau harbor on Friday.

The deHavilland Beaver floatplane owned by Wings Airways appeared to have crashed after a pontoon float became damaged as it touched down on the water, witnesses said.

The pilot, identified by the air service as Jim Williams, escaped without injury before the plane capsized. There were no other passengers on board at the time.

''He didn't even get wet,'' said Rusty Shaub, president of Wings Airways.

Shaub said the plane had traveled from the Juneau Airport and was landing in the harbor to begin a day of sightseeing tours when the crash occurred at about 8:45 a.m.

Witnesses said the plane's pontoons appeared to skip on the water and then break before a wing touched the water, causing the plane to roll, said Juneau Police spokesman Sgt. David Wrightson.

The plane came to rest upright in the harbor but appeared to list to one side before capsizing, said John Beiler, a witness.

The extent of damage to the plane was unknown early Friday, Shaub said. The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating the crash, a spokeswoman said.

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