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Authorities: 1 dead after plane goes off runway in Alaska

A commuter airplane crashed near the airport in a small Alaska community on the Bering Sea in Unalaska, Alaska.

Breaking News:

Authorities say a man has died after a commuter plane went off the runway at the airport of a remote Aleutian Islands fishing community.

Alaska State Troopers identified the victim as 38-year-old David Allan Oltman of Washington state.

The city of Unalaska in a statement says 11 people were brought to a local clinic following the Thursday evening crash. Their injuries ranged from critical to minor.

The city says the crash scene has been secured pending the arrival of investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board, which it says may be as early as Friday.

The plane went off the runway while landing at the airport.

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UNALASKA, Alaska — A commuter airplane carrying 42 people, including a high school swim team, to a remote Aleutian Islands fishing community went off the runway and came to a rest just short of the Bering Sea. Two passengers suffered critical injuries and 10 more were receiving medical care, the plane’s operator said.

The swim team was fine after the incident late Thursday afternoon at the airport in Unalaska, which is home to Dutch Harbor, one of the nation’s busiest fishing ports, officials said.

The SAAB-Scania 2000 twin engine turboprop plane operated by Peninsula Airways, or PenAir, went off the end of the runway under unknown circumstances, Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Allen Kenitzer said in an email to The Associated Press.

He said local authorities reported three crew members on board in addition to 38 passengers, but the airline said in a statement that 39 passengers were on board.

Unalaska was buffeted by high winds when the plane made its landing, said Jim Paulin, a freelance photographer in Unalaska.

Alaska Airlines said in a blogpost that the flight was marketed by Alaska Airlines.

The National Transportation Safety Board said Friday in a statement on Twitter that it was sending a team of nine investigators to Unalaska to start the process of determining why the plane overran the runway. PenAir, which is owned by Ravn Air Group, said it is cooperating with the NTSB and had established a family assistance line.

“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,” said PenAir CEO Dave Pflieger.

An eyewitness said the flight from Anchorage to Dutch Harbor landed about 500 feet beyond the airport, near the water. Images show the plane’s nose hanging over a rock embankment, but not in the water.

Some passengers were taken from the airport in an ambulance and others left with the assistance of residents, including families who planned to host the visiting swimmers.

The swim team was from the Alaska community of Cordova, said Erin Reinders, Unalaska’s city manager, who is also her community’s swim coach and was at the airport waiting to greet the team from Cordova.

“At present, all students and chaperones are accounted for and are OK, albeit a bit shaken up,” said the statement by Cordova Superintendent Alex Russin.

Russin said Unalaska City School District Superintendent John P. Conwell assured him the students were safe.

“I spoke again with Superintendent Conwell who stated that the team was together, seemed fine, and were eating pizza. Mr. Conwell assured me repeatedly that the students would be well looked after and taken care of,” Russin said.

Unalaska is about 825 miles west of Anchorage.

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