NTSB Investigates Fatal Rust’s Air Service Crash in Tutka Bay


The investigation into the crash of a Rust’sd Air Service flight crash as it was taking off from Tutka Bay near Homer is continuing as investigators work to determine what caused the fatal mishap.

Anchor Point-based troopers received a report of the crash of the air services de Havilland DHC-2 Beaver at 10:12 am on Friday morning and responded along with members of the Homer Volunteer Fire Department aboard the P/V Augustine across Kachemak Bay.

Upon arrival at the crash scene, troopers would find that a 57-year-old Maryland man, identified as Joseph Patanella, had died in the crash and one of his children was in critical condition.

The flight was taking off from the mouth of Tutka Bay when it crashed due to tto “unknown circumstances,” it was reported. The aircraft was transporting Patanella, his wife, and his their three children along with an adult male relative, from the Tutka Bay Lodge to Anchorage.

All were transported to the South Peninsula Hospital where the wife and two of the children were further transported to the Providence Hospital in Anchorage. The adult family member and one child were treated and released from the South Peninsula Hospital.

The pilot, identified as Engjell Berisha, was not injured in the crash.

In a joint statement made by the Tutka Lodge and Rust’s Air, they offered condolences, saying, “We are devastated by the news of the loss of life suffered in this incident. Our hearts go out to our guests and their family, our focus is on assisting our guests, their family and loved ones, the pilot, our staffs and first responders during this active crisis response.”

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The National Transportation Safety Board responded to the scene to conduct an investigation into the circumstances and cause of the crash.