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Heroic Passenger Saves Fellow Survivors of Fatal Alaska Commercial Cessna Crash

On Friday, November 29, 2013, a “Cessna 208B Grand Caravan operated by Era Alaska crashed near Saint Mary’s Airport, Alaska. One pilot and three passengers were killed in the accident [the additional six passengers were seriously injured]. The airplane operated flight 7H-1453 from Bethel were it took off at 17:40. The flight was planned to make an intermediate stop at Mountain Village, but did not land there. The temperature in the area was about -8°C with visibility reported at about a mile.” (Source: https://aviation-safety.net/database/record.php?id=20131129-1).

“A mother [Melanie Coffee, 25 of Mountain Village] on board a plane that crashed in remote southwest Alaska made a frantic phone call for help resuscitating her 5-month-old baby, then left the fatally injured boy to lead searchers hampered by cold and fog to the crash site.” (Source: https://www.adn.com/). Melanie walked nearly a mile in perilous weather toward lights in the village of Saint Marys to meet rescuers. “Pilot Terry Hansen, 68, passengers Rose Polty, 57, Richard Polty, 65, and the infant, Wyatt Coffee, died in the crash. The survivors included Melanie Coffee, Pauline Johnson, 37, Kylan Johnson, 14, Tanya Lawrence, 35, Garrett Moses, 30, and Shannon Lawrence. All were seriously injured and four were in critical condition . . . [a]ll but Hansen and Shannon Lawrence are from Mountain Village, troopers said. Hansen was from Bethel, according to troopers. Information wasn’t available about where Lawrence lived.” (Source: https://www.adn.com).

“Hageland Aviation is part of the Era Group that includes Era Aviation. Hageland President Jim Hickerson said in a statement that the crash is ‘an unspeakable tragedy for us.’ ‘Hageland is working to gather information to answer questions and do what we can to ease the suffering of those involved in the accident,’ he said.” (Source: https://www.adn.com/).

The links embedded below provide preliminary news coverage of this flight-related tragedy and we at Pilot Law, P.C. are actively investigating this unfortunate incident. We are keenly sympathetic to affected parties in tragedies such as this, having litigated dozens like it in courts throughout the country and abroad and being pilots ourselves.  In cases such as this, affected parties may have legal recourse against various entities, including the aircraft and/or component manufacturers and the owner/operator of the aircraft. We at Pilot Law, P.C. bring years’ of experience and expertise to bear and will diligently and relentlessly pursue the truth on behalf of the victims and their families.