UPDATE: One dead in Unalaska plane crash, NTSB team on its way

 Courtesy Victor Weaver
Courtesy Victor Weaver (KTUU)
Published: Oct. 17, 2019 at 7:35 PM AKDT
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UPDATE, 10/18/19 9:34 a.m.:

Alaska State Troopers have confirmed a person has died following a plane crash in Unalaska.

AST says 38-year-old David Allan Oltman from Washington died.

AST says more information will be released shortly.

Troopers couldn't confirm if Oltman was one of the people previously reported hurt.

In a press release from Unalaska Department of Public Safety, officials say the runway and vehicle traffic through the area is shut down until further notice.

Dave Pflieger, President RavnAir Group, released the following statement in a press releases:

“On behalf of PenAir, Ravn Air Group and all our employees throughout the company, we would like to extend our deepest sympathies and condolences to the family and loved ones of our passenger who passed away"

UPDATE, 10/18/19 5:35 a.m.:

The National Transportation Safety Board says it is sending a team of nine to Unalaska to investigate the crash.

According to the Associated Press, the plane was carrying 42 people.

UPDATE, 11:05 p.m.:

Two people were critically injured when a commercial plane went off the runway at the Unalaska Airport on Thursday evening, with the aircraft left teetering over a bank toward a nearby body of water.

In a news release late Thursday night, a representative for the public relations firm representing PenAir wrote that the company had "been informed that two passengers were critically injured and ten others are receiving medical care in Unalaska. All other passengers are being cared for."

The release went on to include a message from company CEO Dave Pflieger.

"Our thoughts and prayers go out to all of our passengers and crew, and the family members of everyone with loved ones on this flight,” he said.

Clint Johnson of the National Transportation Safety Board said early Thursday evening that details of the incident were still being worked out.

"We've got a major investigation going here," he said, "and there's all sorts of rumors going around. We're trying to get an investigator down, and the rest of the team will be coming from Washington, D.C."

PenAir, which is owned by Ravn Air Group, is in close contact and fully cooperating with the NTSB, according to the release from the company.

Per usual, the NTSB will lead the investigation into the incident.

The Alaska Department of Transportation posted on its Facebook page only that at approximately 6 o'clock on Thursday evening, it was "notified that a commercial aircraft was off the runway at the Unalaska/Dutch Harbor Airport. DOT&PF Airport Rescue and Fire are responding. The airport is currently closed. At this time we have no additional information."

Numerous pictures posted on social media and sent to KTUU showed the plane off the runway and nose-down, sitting on what looked like a sloped, rocky edge and pointing toward the water.

Alaska Airlines added in a news release Thursday night that PenAir Flight 3296 had 39 passengers and three crew members on board. PenAir operates the Anchorage-Dutch Harbor service for Alaska with a Saab 2000 aircraft.

Alex Russin, superintendent of schools in Cordova, wrote in a social media post that the district's high school swim team and chaperones were on the plane.

At approximately 6:11 pm this evening I received a phone call from the Superintendent of Schools in Unalaska that our...

Posted by Cordova School District on Thursday, October 17, 2019

Unalaska resident Randy Batten told KTUU he and his wife were walking their dog along the road that runs near the runway when they "saw an approaching plane. It was a little windy but I didn't think it was that bad, for some reason he aborted his first attempt to land and flew over us to come around again to make another attempt."

Batten said he and his wife then drove the short distance to their home, which overlooks at the airport. They arrived home just as the crash happened.

"We heard a screech of rubber and a bunch of scrapping of metal and we knew right away it was probably that plane that we had seen do the flyover on the first attempt."

The representative for PenAir said the airline has established a family assistance line for everyone who has loved ones on the flight. That can be accessed by dialing 1-800-757-4784.

This is a developing story. Please check back for details. Copyright 2019 KTUU. All rights reserved.