The Latest: Plane crash victim's family releases statement

AP News
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Posted: Sep 15, 2015 9:38 PM

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The latest developments on a deadly floatplane crash in southwest Alaska (all times local):

5:30 p.m.

The family of one of the three people killed in a floatplane crash in Alaska has released a statement about his death.

Close family friend Meagan Grossman says 70-year-old James P. Fletcher of Clovis, California, was a retired periodontist. She says the family requested the statement be released in its entirety.

They wrote: "Dr. Jim Fletcher was killed in a plane crash this morning while on a fishing trip in Alaska. Jim, a quiet man with an incredibly generous heart, was full of faith in Christ Jesus. His family and his church community are grieving together. A service to celebrate Jim's life will be scheduled at First Presbyterian Church, Fresno."

The others killed in Tuesday's crash near the tiny community of Iliamna were identified as 80-year-old Tony W. Degroot of Hanford, California, and 69-year-old James Specter of Shavertown, Pennsylvania.

The seven others on board the De Havilland DHC-3 Turbine Otter were injured, some of them critically.

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2:20 p.m.

Authorities say three people who died in a plane crash in southwest Alaska were residents of California and Pennsylvania. The other seven people on board were injured.

Alaska State Troopers say the deceased are 80-year-old Tony W. Degroot of Hanford, California, 70-year-old James P. Fletcher of Clovis, California, and 69-year-old James Specter of Shavertown, Pennsylvania.

Troopers say the bodies have been recovered and will be sent for an autopsy by the state medical examiner's office.

The Alaska Air National Guard flew five of the more seriously injured survivors to Anchorage. Guard Staff Sgt. Edward Eagerton says the five were first flown to Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, then transported by ground ambulance to one or more hospitals.

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1:40 p.m.

Authorities have released more details on the people who were injured in a deadly plane crash in southwest Alaska.

Alaska State say three people from outside the state were killed and seven people were hurt, including some critically, when the floatplane belonging to a fishing lodge wrecked Tuesday near the small community of Iliamna (ill-ee-AHM'-nuh).

Troopers say injured passengers are being flown to Anchorage hospitals. National Transportation Safety Board Alaska Chief Clint Johnson says five people were badly injured, including some critically, and two others sustained minor injuries.

Johnson says the plane belongs to the Rainbow King Lodge. Calls to the business went unanswered.

Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Allen Kenitzer says the aircraft crashed on takeoff at Eastwind Lake, a mile north of Iliamna. It was a De Havilland DHC-3 Turbine Otter on floats.

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12:10 p.m.

Authorities say three people are dead after a floatplane belonging to a fishing lodge crashed with 10 people on board in southwest Alaska.

Alaska State Troopers say the three were from outside the state.

The agency says injured passengers are being flown to Anchorage hospitals following the crash Tuesday near the small community of Iliamna (ill-ee-AHM'-nuh). It's unclear how many people are hurt.

Local residents say the plane belongs to the Rainbow King Lodge. Calls to the business went unanswered.

Rescue personnel initially took injured passengers to the Iliamna clinic.

Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Allen Kenitzer says the plane crashed on takeoff at Eastwind Lake, 1 mile north of Iliamna. He says the aircraft was a De Havilland DHC-3 Turbine Otter on floats, and the cause of the crash is not yet known.

Iliamna is about 175 miles southwest of Anchorage.

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11:05 a.m.

Authorities say a floatplane with 10 people aboard has crashed in southwest Alaska, killing an unknown number of people.

Alaska State Troopers say fatalities occurred in the wreck Tuesday near Iliamna (ill-ee-AHM'-nuh), but they didn't know how many. They say rescue personnel are taking injured passengers to the clinic in the small community.

Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Allen Kenitzer says in an email to The Associated Press that the plane crashed on takeoff at Eastwind Lake, 1 mile north of Iliamna. He says the aircraft was a De Havilland DHC-3 Turbine Otter on floats, and the cause of the crash is not yet known.

Clint Johnson with the National Transportation Safety Board says authorities believe the plane belongs to an area lodge, but he declined to immediately identify it.

Iliamna is about 175 miles southwest of Anchorage.