Floatplane crash in Alaska leaves one person dead, child critically injured, officials say
One man is dead and another child was critically injured after a floatplane in Alaska crashed Friday immediately after takeoff.
Joseph Patenella, 57, was traveling with his wife, three children and an adult male relative aboard a de Havilland DHC-2 Beaver at the mouth of Tutka Bay when their aircraft’s takeoff was aborted.
The plane crashed shortly after with seven people total on board. Officials with the Federal Aviation Administration told The Associated Press that it was not immediately clear what caused the aircraft to come down, calling the circumstances of the crash “unknown.”
FLOATPLANE CARRYING 4 AMERICANS, 3 CANADIANS, CRASHES INTO LABRADOR LAKE, NO SURVIVORS EXPECTED: OFFICIALS
Patenella, said to be from Maryland, died before arriving at South Peninsula Hospital in Homer, more than 200 miles south of Anchorage.
The mother, the critically injured child, and a second child were flown to Providence Alaska Medical Center in Anchorage, although their conditions were not immediately available.
The family relative was said to be in stable condition at a hospital in Homer. The third child and the pilot, Engjell Berisha, were treated and released, Alaska State Troopers said.
The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the deadly crash.
The plane is owned by Anchorage-based Rust’s Flying Service. The passengers were guests at Tutka Bay Lodge, said Bri Kelly, a spokeswoman on behalf of the flying service. She said the company has suspended its operations and is cooperating with authorities.
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Friday’s crash comes amid a growing number of fatal accidents involving floatplanes.
Just this week a de Havilland DHC-2 Beaver operated by Air Saguenay crashed in Mistastin Lake in the Eastern Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador. Three passengers have already been confirmed dead and officials said that it is unlikely that missing four passengers will be found alive.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Paulina Dedaj is a writer/ reporter for Fox News. Follow her on Twitter @PaulinaDedaj.
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