by Laurel Andrews
Six people escaped without serious injury after a plane crashed during take-off late Sunday afternoon near Cape Douglas in Katmai National Park.
A wheel-equipped Cessna 206, operated by K-Bay Air, failed to get fully off the ground and ended up in the surf between 5-5:30 p.m. on Sunday, said National Transportation Board investigator Clint Johnson. Details surrounding the crash are unknown at this time.
“All we know is the airplane did end up in the surf, on the water,” Johnson said.
The five passengers and one pilot on board were all reported to be uninjured in the accident. The Cape Douglas area on the northeast end of the nearly 5-million-acre park north of Kodiak Island and southwest of Homer is a busy place in summer when people come from all over the world to view the grizzly bears that gather there.
The passengers in the K-Bay plane were reportedly bear viewers. The plane was being used by K-B subsidiary Alaska Bear Adventure’s. Another air taxi, Stellar Air Float Plane Service out of Homer, picked up the survivors after the crash.
K-Bay Air is a family-owned flight-seeing operation based out of Homer that specializes in “guided wilderness bear viewing,” with 20 years of experience flying the Katmai coast, according to its website.
An email statement from the company Monday afternoon read: “On Sunday afternoon, one of our aircraft experienced an incident during the takeoff from the beach. Passengers received no injuries, were happy with their trip and had no complaints.”
The investigation is in its preliminary stages, and the NTSB was hoping to speak with the pilot today, Johnson said.
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