ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The pilot of a floatplane that crashed in an Alaska bay, killing a man and injuring others, told authorities the water was swelling during takeoff, a report said.
An investigation began after the Friday plane crash killed 57-year-old Maryland resident Joseph Patanella, the Anchorage Daily News reported Tuesday.
Pilot Engjell Berisha and six family members encountered rough waters during takeoff from Tutka Bay, about 300 miles (483 kilometers) south of Anchorage, Alaska State Troopers said.
The de Havilland DHC-2 Beaver was found upside down with a missing wing and partly detached floats.
“There was some swell activity in the takeoff area,” Berisha said.
A preliminary report into the crash is almost complete after several interviews, National Transportation Safety Board Alaska chief Clint Johnson said.
The Federal Aviation Administration said the plane crashed under unknown circumstances during takeoff. Coast Guard Petty Officer Amanda Norcross, however, said the manager of a nearby lodge reported the aircraft never left the water.
The plane is owned by Anchorage-based Rust’s Flying Service. The passengers were guests at Tutka Bay Lodge, said Bri Kelly, a spokeswoman on behalf of the flying service. She said the company has suspended its operations and is cooperating with authorities.
Two of the children, one in critical condition, and their mother were flown to Providence Alaska Medical Center in Anchorage and a third child was treated and released, a report said.
The relative was in stable condition the day of the crash.
Patanella was the CEO of Annapolis cybersecurity firm Trusted Knight and a former National Security Agency technologist.
Information from: Anchorage Daily News, http://www.adn.com