‘Flying Wild Alaska’ Cessna 208 Caravan in Fatal Crash

Four people died over the weekend near St Mary's, Alaska, after a Cessna 208 Caravan crashed in conditions described by local news outlets as freezing rain and low ceilings. According to the Anchorage Daily News, the passengers killed include a retired couple, a five-month-old baby and the pilot. Six additional passengers survived with injuries and were transported to a hospital in Anchorage. The NTSB is investigating the cause of the crash.

The Caravan was operated by Hageland Aviation, which is a part of Era Alaska, a charter operator that was made famous in the Discovery Channel documentary series “Flying Wild Alaska," which aired in 2011 and 2012. The documentary dramatized the dangers of flying in the hostile Alaska environment, where pilots often fly under low overcast ceilings and poor visibility to reach villages that are not accessible by roads. IFR flight is often unavailable due to the steep, mountainous terrain in the region.

This most recent crash raises the total death toll from aircraft crashes in Alaska this year to at least 35, according to NTSB statistics. The number is a significant increase over 2012 statistics, which totaled 11 aviation related deaths. One of this year's fatal crashes involved a de Havilland Otter accident in July that killed 10.

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Pia Bergqvist joined FLYING in December 2010. A passionate aviator, Pia started flying in 1999 and quickly obtained her single- and multi-engine commercial, instrument and instructor ratings. After a decade of working in general aviation, Pia has accumulated almost 3,000 hours of flight time in nearly 40 different types of aircraft.

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