Air Guard rescues Ketchum Air owner and daughter

Posted: Friday, July 21, 2000

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- The owner of Ketchum Air Service and his daughter were injured when their plane crashed near the mouth of the Susitna River.

Craig Ketchum, 49, and 21-year-old Katy Ketchum, 21, were admitted Thursday night to Alaska Regional Hospital in Anchorage, said Bill Longbrake, interim office manager at Ketchum Air.

''Craig's doing good,'' Longbrake told the Anchorage Daily News. ''As far as we know, Katy will have a full recovery.''

She was in surgery late Thursday, he said.

An Alaska Air National Guard transport plane was nearby on another mission when the Cessna 150's emergency locator transmitter went off.

Two pararescue jumpers parachuted into the crash site and immediately began working to stabilize the woman.

''Her condition was deteriorating quickly,'' Maj. Donna Prigmore said. ''It was very fortunate for the survivors that we were right overhead.''

One of the C-130s crew members saw the Cessna several minutes after picking up the ELT signal.

The two PJs found a man, who was injured but able to walk, and a woman who was more seriously injured, Prigmore said.

The plane was in three feet of standing water and the only dry place to attend to her was on a pontoon, she said.

The C-130 crew radioed Kulis Air National Guard Base and asked for a helicopter. The woman was lifted aboard the Air Guard HH-60 Pavehawk on a litter and was flown to the hospital.

Katy Ketchum was on a routine training flight with her father when the crash occurred, Longbrake said.

The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating the crash. The National Transportation Safety Board also has been advised.

Ketchum Air is one of Anchorage's largest air taxi services. Its planes are chartered for fly-in fishing, hunting and other excursions.

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