Air taxi crashes in Alaska

All ten aboard dead after plane crashes in Soldotna, Alaska

July 8, 2013

All ten people aboard an air taxi were killed as the single-engine airplane crashed and burned at a small airport in Soldotna, Alaska Sunday.

The plane, a de Havilland DHC3 Otter, was engulfed in flames upon impact at the airport, about 75 miles southwest of Anchorage on the Kenai Peninsula.

The municipal airport is located about a mile from Soldotna’s commercial business area and is adjacent to the Kenai River, according to the city’s website. The runway is 5,000 feet long and paved.

Firefighters from Central Emergency Services were the first on the scene, Capt. Lesley Quelland told the Anchorage Daily News.

They found “the aircraft was crashed off the side of the runway and it was fully involved in flames,” Quelland said.

It took crews about 10 minutes to put out the fire. Everyone died inside the plane, she said.

National Transportation Safety Board investigator Clint Johnson confirmed to The Associated Press that the dead included nine passengers and the pilot. The victims’ names had not been released.

The National Transportation Safety Board said the plane was operating as an air taxi. Clint Johnson of the NTSB in Anchorage told the Daily News it was not clear who was flying the plane, what caused the crash, or whether it occurred on take off or landing.

Police said in a release through the Alaska State Troopers that weather at the time of the crash was reported to be cloudy with a light wind.

Anchorage Daily News said state records showed the aircraft was registered to Lyla and Walter Rediske, with an address in Nikiski.

Alaska has already seen a several plane crashes this year, including a June 28 crash that killed a pilot and two passengers on a commercial tour in the Alaska Range.

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