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TransNorthern plane makes emergency landing at Merrill Field, no injuries reported

Loss of engine power forced plane to make emergency landing on its way to Kodiak
Published: Dec. 8, 2021 at 11:53 AM AKST|Updated: Dec. 8, 2021 at 10:49 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - A TransNorthern Aviation cargo flight made an emergency landing Wednesday morning at Merrill Field in Anchorage after experiencing a loss of engine power.

According to Alaska Chief of the National Transportation and Safety Board Clint Johnson, no one was injured in the emergency landing of the Douglas DC-3. The plane came down while landing gear was still up on runway 7 of the downtown airport.

“NTSB is investigating at this point right now,” Johnson said. “My understanding is the airplane landed ‘gear up’ after declaring an emergency.”

Johnson said the plane took off from Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport and was headed to Kodiak Airport. According to Federal Aviation Administration records, the plane is a 1952 manufacturer year aircraft that is powered by turbo propellers.

“They departed from Anchorage International, originally headed to Kodiak, had a loss of engine power very shortly after takeoff, made the emergency landing at Merrill,” Johnson said. “Two pilots on board, no injuries.”

Edward Munson, who witnessed the landing at Merrill Field, said that in his many years working at the airport, he’s never seen a landing quite like the one on Wednesday morning.

“I’ve never really seen this before here,” he said. “We don’t get too many DC-3′s coming through Merrill Field. And, especially not in emergency situations.”

Munson recorded a video along runway 7, where the plane finally landed.

“I heard it off in the distance, but I couldn’t see it,” he said, “because it was flying super low. I didn’t see it until it was pretty much right on runway 7 here. And I noticed it was only running on one engine, it’s landing gear was up, and he just barely made the runway – kind of hit the snow bank and kind of hurtled to a stop on the runway.”

The runway at Merrill Field where the plane landed was initially closed, but Mayor Dave Bronson’s office said in a press release that it reopened by shortly after 4:45 p.m.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to include additional information and quotes.

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