Four killed in small plane crash in Nuiqsut

Posted: Tuesday, September 19, 2000

NUIQSUT (AP) -- Four people were killed Monday when a small plane crashed while landing at the Nuiqsut airport.

Rescue crews from the North Slope Borough and the Nuiqsut Volunteer Fire Department were at the scene near Prudhoe Bay, some 400 miles north of Fairbanks. There were 10 people aboard the plane.

Paul Carr, chief of the North Slope Borough Police Department, said six people had survived the crash. They were being taken by helicopter to hospitals in Barrow, Fairbanks and Anchorage.

The identities of those killed were being withheld pending notification of kin.

The police chief said the North Slope Borough Police Department received a call at 3:06 p.m. that the plane had crashed just west of the runway. It went into the tundra and did not hit any buildings on the ground, Carr said. He was unsure whether the plane made radio contact before it went down.

The twin-engine aircraft belonged to Cape Smythe Air in Barrow. Cape Smythe President Grant Thompson said there were nine passenger and a pilot aboard the Piper 1040. He said the turbo aircraft left Dead Horse about 65 miles east of Nuiqsut at 2:45 p.m.

Thompson called the crash ''devastating.'' He said he knew of no problems with the aircraft, but had not had time to check its service history.

Investigators with the National Transportation Safety Board were expected to arrive at the crash scene on Tuesday.

Several Cape Smythe Air planes have had mishaps so far this year. In February, a Cape Smythe Air pilot was injured after his plane crashed on sea ice about three miles from the Kotzebue airport. On Feb. 9, while landing at Wales, a Piper Cheyenne veered out of control while landing, causing minor injuries to eight passengers and a pilot. And on Jan. 25, the pilot of a Piper 1040 landed in Savoonga without lowering his landing gear. No one was injured in that incident.

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