NTSB: Pilot safely evacuated passengers from burning plane

    BETHEL, Alaska (AP) — Federal investigators credit a pilot with safely evacuating passengers before flames consumed an Alaska commuter plane after it crashed, a report said.

    The National Transportation Safety Board said the pilot spotted the flames and helped five passengers get clear of the crashed airplane at the Bethel airport July 8, The Anchorage Daily News reported.

    Authorities have not identified the pilot or the three adults and two children onboard.

    Three people were taken to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

    The Grant Aviation pilot is recovering from a severely sprained collarbone, said company President and CEO Rob Kelley.

    The pilot was attempting to land the Cessna 208B aircraft at the end of the flight from Newtok to the Bethel airport about 400 miles (644 kilometers) west of Anchorage.

    The pilot missed the plane's first landing and the aircraft stalled while turning, the NTSB report said.

    He told investigators he used a higher-than-normal traffic pattern because of limited visibility and came in "with an increased rate of descent and full flaps," the report said.

    The plane crashed on its right side in a grassy drainage ditch between two runways, the report said.

    Grant Aviation cannot comment on the NTSB report because it is part of an ongoing investigation into the crash, Kelley said.

    More from News of the North

    Current Conditions

    Crude Oil Price