NANWALEK, Alaska-Slush and a downdraft are the reasons stated for the Cessna crash that took place in Nanwalek two weeks ago. That crash resulted in the pilot and three passengers having to swim to shore after the ill fated take-off from the airport there.
It was stated by an unnamed Smokey Air pilot, that there was slush accumulated on the poorly maintained runway in the small community on the south end of the Kenai Peninsula. There were three inches of the wet substance on the strip, with deeper accumulations of up to six inches in runway potholes.
The pilot of the downed aircraft stated that just after take-off, as he banked to the left, a downdraft struck the aircraft, and even at full throttle forced it to ditch in the icy waters off of the community. Pilots routinely report downdrafts on Nanwalek’s runway.
After crashing about 100 feet from shore, the pilot and passengers were able to exit through the pilots door and swim to safety. All suffered minor injuries in the crash.
Nanwalek is a small community of approximately 254 people located southwest of Seldovia and east of Port Graham. The community was originally the site of an old Russian trading post called Alexandrovsk, later renamed Odinochka.