Taquan Air suspends flights after second deadly crash in a week

Taquan Air suspends flights after crash

For the second time in a week, a small airline in Alaska has suspended all flights after a deadly crash involving one of its planes. Two people were killed Monday when a Taquan Air plane went down in a harbor in Ketchikan.

The de Havilland Beaver floatplane was landing on the open water when an eyewitness said it flipped over in the bay and started to fill with water. The plane's air-filled pontoons kept it afloat but upside down. By the time rescue crews reached the victims, it was too late. One passenger was identified as Sarah Luna, a local health care worker. She posted on Facebook before the flight, "first time on a float plane."

Taquan Air has had three accidents in less than a year. Just last week, a Taquan plane collided midair with another aircraft killing six people and injuring 10 others.

CBS News approached Taquan Air last week to try and get some answers about their decision to temporarily suspend flying operations. An employee clarified that Taquan Air would be grounded just for the day.

Small Plane Crash
This Monday, May 20, 2019, photo shows good Samaritans attempting to bring in a floatplane that crashed in the harbor of Metlakatla, Alaska. Aerial Leask via AP

The National Transportation Safety Board, which is investigating the crash, said while it is unusual for an operator to have two accidents in one week, that alone does not imply there's a safety issue.

There have been concerns over the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) supervision of the flight tour industry. Floatplanes are not required to have black boxes or flight plans. But the FAA said it does perform unannounced surveillance on operators.