Sole survivor of Alaska plane crash is back home, back on the job ... and back in the air

(KTUU)
Published: Jul. 26, 2017 at 1:58 PM AKDT
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KETCHIKAN (KTUU) -- A frozen waterfall and a few snowy peaks. Amid the jaw-dropping beauty of Southeast Alaska, it was just another scenic snapshot on another commuter flight for heavy equipment operator Morgan Enright.

But taking this photograph is the last thing Morgan, now 23, remembers before her life and her body and her mind changed forever.

At 9:14 a.m., April 6, 2016, the Cessna 206 carrying Morgan and three others from Wrangell to Angoon slammed into the snowy peaks of Admiralty Island. Pilot

and passengers

and

died in the crash.

From above, a Coast Guard rescue helicopter spotted no signs of life as Morgan sat hidden from view in the back of the plane. Delayed by hazardous weather, it took members of the Sitka Mountain Rescue group nearly six hours to reach the wreckage.

“The amount of time that had elapsed after the crash, and nobody seeing any movement, kind of prepared us for the worst,” said mountain rescue member Ron Duvall.

About 30 yards from the plane, Duvall could see someone’s arm moving. Morgan was alive. The Coast Guard helicopter returned, hoisting her to safety, as seen for the first time in this Department of Defense video.

The flight was one of 13 fatal aviation crashes that killed 32 people across Alaska last year. Alaskans accounted for 15 percent of all deaths from plane crashes nationwide in 2016, despite representing a fraction of one percent of the U.S. population.

No matter how tragic, the crashes are all too often forgotten. What of those who survive? Do they fly again? Do they live in fear, or with new resolve?

For Enright, her year-long recovery has been a process of making peace with the things she has lost. Traumatic brain injury has limited her ability to work and focus. Doctors removed dead muscle from her leg, grounding the former gymnast.

Mostly she cherishes the years she has been given.

“If there’s something I need to do or want to do, I gotta do it,” Enright said on a recent weekday in Ketchikan. “You don’t know if you’ll be here tomorrow.”

Watch the story above for our recent interview with Enright on a rare, sunny weekday in her hometown of Ketchikan.