Investigators Arrive at Site of Fatal Plane Crash in Alaska, Victims Identified

Share This Page

June 29, 2015

Investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) were able to finally visit the site of the fatal crash of a floatplane outside of Ketchikan on Saturday. The DeHavilland DHC-3 Otter turboprop plane crashed into a mountainside above Ella Lake on Thursday morning, killing all nine onboard.

Alaska Plane Crash Updates

Are Float Planes Safe?

Alaska Plane Crash

Seven officials from the NTSB spent much of Saturday scattered around the crash site, looking for clues as to what caused this tragedy. The floatplane, operated by Promech Air, was reportedly flying back to Ketchikan after a sightseeing excursion to the Misty Fjords National Monument when the crash occurred.

According to Fox Business News, investigators found that the plane's wings and tail had broken off during impact. However, the fuselage was still largely intact. The cause of the crash is still unknown, and officials are quick to say it is too soon to speculate at this time.

They will be looking at several things, including weather conditions, the pilot's qualifications and training record, aircraft maintenance and inspection records, as well as communication between pilots in the area at the time of the of the crash. According to NTSB board member Clint Johnson, the floatplane was flying in "uncontrolled air space," when the crash occurred. Nonetheless, Johnson said the route is well-travelled, and that pilots in Alaska talk and help each other navigate the terrain.

In reaction to Thursday's floatplane crash, Holland America Line has decided to suspend the sales of Promech sightseeing tours.

The Victims

All of those onboard the downed plane, except for the pilot, were guests aboard the Holland America Line cruise ship Westerdam. The ship had departed from Seattle on June 20.

Bryan Krill, 64, of Hope, Idaho had just joined Promech Air earlier this year. Krill was an experienced pilot, and had over 4,300 hours of flight experience. His lengthy experience included roughly 1,700 hours flying single engine seaplanes.

Rowland Cheney, 71, and Mary Doucette, 59, of Lodi, California both found love in the twilight of their lives. Family members said Cheney, an artist who also raised Kiger mustang horses, was going to propose to Doucette on their vacation. The two had just recently lost spouses.

June Kranenburg, 73, and Leonard Kranenburg, 63, of Medford, Oregon were both well-liked in their community. June was a longtime dance instructor.

Margie Apodaca, 63, and Raymond Apodaca, 70, of Sparks, Nevada were both very outgoing and community-minded, according to friends. Margie had recently retired from a career in the U.S. Forest Service and her husband had also retired from the U.S. Postal Service.

Glenda Cambiaso, 31, and Hugo Cambiaso, 65, of Montgomery County, Maryland were on a father/daughter trip together. Glenda was a social worker who had attended the University of Maryland in Baltimore.