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Two Survive Aircraft Ditch South of Metlakatla

Location of Smugglers Cove in Southeast Alaska. Image-Google Maps

Location of Smugglers Cove in Southeast Alaska. Image-Google Maps

Ketchikan-based troopers were alerted by Ketchikan Flight Services of an aircraft enroute to Ketchikan from Klawock attempting to make an emergency landing after missing the Ketchikan airport in the midst of snow showers just before losing contact on Friday morning.

The call to troopers went in at 8:26 am reporting that an aircraft, owned by Point-to-Point Air, and piloted by 68-year-old Steven Hewitt, had attempted a landing at the airport, but missed the runway due to inclement weather, lost power before he could make a second attempt,  and was instead going to attempt a beach landing at an unknown location.  But, then contact was lost with the twin-engine Beech G18S.

The Alaska Wildlife Troopers, United States Coast Guard, Ketchikan Volunteer Rescue Squad, Metlakatla Police Dept and Annette Island Search and Rescue all were notified of the situation and immediately launched assets to begin a search for the missing aircraft.

Approximately an hour later Annette Island Search and Rescue located Hewitt and his crew, 23-year-old Grant Hastings near Smugglers Cove on Annette Island. Both the pilot and his passenger were transported to the Metlakatla Clinic for treatment of minor injuries.

The investigation into the crash revealed that as Hewitt was attempting a beach landing, but lost engine power and the aircraft ditched south of Metlakatla, 200 yards offshore of Annette Island near Smugglers Cove. Upon ditching in the water, the aircraft sank. Both men swam to shore where they were later rescued.