Plane carrying 2 people crashes into Tanana River outside Alaska, no survivors - Hindustan Times
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Plane carrying 2 people crashes into Tanana River outside Alaska, no survivors

BySumanti Sen
Apr 24, 2024 08:49 PM IST

A plane that was carrying two people reportedly crashed into the Tanana River near Fairbanks, Alaska, on Tuesday, April 23

A plane that was carrying two people reportedly crashed into the Tanana River near Fairbanks, Alaska, on Tuesday, April 23. Authorities confirmed that no survivors have been found.

A plane carrying 2 people crashed into Tanana River outside Alaska (Michaela Matherne via AP/PTI)((AP)
A plane carrying 2 people crashed into Tanana River outside Alaska (Michaela Matherne via AP/PTI)((AP)

The airplane that crashed – C-54 Skymaster – took off from Fairbanks International Airport in the morning, and crashed about 7 miles (11 kilometres) from there. The plane then “slid into a steep hill on the bank of the river where it caught fire,” according to Alaska State Troopers.

According to Clint Johnson, chief of the National Transportation Safety Board’s Alaska regional office, it remains unclear what happened after the takeoff and before the crash, The Mirror reported. However, the tower operator “saw a large plume of smoke.”

Michaela Matherne was on her way to Fairbanks, flying from the village of Galena, to catch a flight to New Orleans. On the way, her plane had to be diverted to verify the coordinates of the crash site. “When we were in the air there was speculation that it was a cabin that caught fire, maybe a fish camp,” Matherne told The Associated Press.

“We actually didn’t know what we were looking at until after we landed a few minutes later,” she added. “We were shocked and saddened to hear that.”

About the C-54 Skymaster

The C-54 airplane is actually a military version of the Douglas DC-4. The website Warfare History Network says of designing the C-54 Skymaster, “The C-54 was the result of a prewar civilian design that the Douglas Aircraft Company developed as a successor to its highly successful DC-3. The original design, later designated as the DC-4E, featured a pressurized cabin to allow high-altitude operations in relative comfort, but the design was too expensive for the cash-strapped airline industry of the Depression years and was put on hold.”

The Anchorage Daily News reported that the owner of Rosie Creek Farm southwest of Fairbanks, Mike Emers, was in office when the plane crashed. He reportedly heard the sound of the plane exploding.

"I looked out the window and coming right over our farm was a four-engine plane, and one of the engines was on fire,” Emers said. He called trooper emergency dispatch, and rushed toward the rising dark smoke at the crash site. "You could feel them on the ground,” Emers said.

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