Floatplane crashes near Ketchikan, Alaska killing five — (Alaska Report)

SSRI Ed note: Pilot on antidepressants not allowed by NTSB (at that time), suicidal, crashed float plane, killing 5.

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Alaska Report

July 25, 2007

Ketchikan, Alaska – Five people aboard a sightseeing floatplane were killed when it crashed in the Misty Fjords National Monument, south of Ketchikan, Alaska on Tuesday.

The five included the plane’s pilot and four Sun Princess cruise ship passengers, who were on the second day of a weeklong, round-trip cruise from Seattle, Washington, Princess cruise spokeswoman Julie Benson said in a statement.  The pilot sent out a distress signal late Tuesday afternoon while on a planned tour of Misty Fjords National Monument, near Ketchikan.

When the single-engine DeHavilland Beaver did not return, “rescue helicopters were dispatched to the location of the flight seeing route,” Benson said. “These helicopters subsequently spotted the float plane which … crashed in rugged terrain.”

No additional information was immediately released, but Benson said the company was working closely with local authorities to investigate the circumstances of the crash.

Meanwhile, Princess Cruises has permanently canceled all excursions with the tour company Taquan Air, operator of the plane, Benson said.

“We are devastated to report that our passengers and the plane’s pilot perished in the accident,” Benson said. “Our shoreside care team is doing everything possible to help their families through this difficult tragedy, and we share in their grief.”   The passengers were among 1,950 people aboard the Sun Princess.

Alaska State Trooper Jodi Williams identified the victims as pilot Joseph H. Campbell of Ketchikan and cruise ship passengers William F. Eddy and Jeanne J. Eddy of Jacksonville, Florida, and Marianne M. McManus and Paul J. McManus of Cherry Valley, Massachusetts.

© AlaskaReport

08-27-2008, 01:17 AM

It took over a year, but the NTSB has released the final report of the July 24, 2007 Taquan Air accident near Ketchikan, Alaska. Aside from finding that the pilot flew the VFR flight into IFR conditions, a more troubling factor came out that gives our profession a “Black Eye”. If you read the entire accident report you will find that the pilot (Joseph H. Campbell) was previously suicidal and also taking anti-depressant medication at the time of the accident which would NOT allow him to be legal to fly any aircraft.The report also states that he lied on the medical certificate application concerning his past and current medical and mental condition so he could obtain the required certificate to hold his pilot position with Taquan.

The FAA’s guide for Aviation Medical Examiners states, in part: “The use of a psychotropic drug is considered disqualifying. This includes all sedatives, tranquilizers, antipsychotic drugs, antidepressant drugs, analeptics, anxiolytics, and hallucinogens.”

He should have never been flying that aircraft for Taquan Air and the worst part is he knew it!

SitNews: Pilot & FAA Faulted in 2007 Misty Fjords Fatal Plane Crash


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Pilot & FAA Faulted in 2007 Misty Fjords Fatal Plane Crash08

Sunday, August 17, 20

Ketchikan, Alaska – The National Transportation Safety Board released its probable cause findings for the plane crash near Ketchikan that killed five people on July 24, 2007. The Taquan Dehavilland Beaver crashed in Misty Fjords about 40 miles northeast of Ketchikan during a flight-seeing tour.

Killed were the pilot, Joseph Campbell, 56, and two married couples who were passengers on the Sun Princess: William F. Eddy and Jeanne J. Eddy, both 59, of Jacksonville, Fla., and Paul J. McManus, 60, and his wife, Marianne M. McManus, 56, of Massachusetts. Mrs. McManus and Mrs. Eddy were sisters.

In the report released August 13, 2008, the National Transportation Safety board determined the probable cause of this accident as pilot Joseph Campbell’s decision to continue under visual flight rules into an area of instrument metrological conditions. Contributing to the accident was the pilot’s inadequate weather evaluation, and the Federal Aviation’s inadequate surveillance of the commercial air tour operator.

According to the NTSB’s report, the crashed air taxi float-equipped airplane was the second of three airplanes on an air tour flight over a remote scenic area in southeast Alaska. As the flight of three airplanes flew into mountainous terrain, the first pilot reported low clouds, with rain and fog, which required him to descend to 700 feet feet msl (Altitude above Mean Sea Level), to maintain VFR flight conditions. The pilot of the third tour airplane, which was about 5 minutes behind the accident airplane, stated that as he approached the area around the accident site, he encountered “a wall of weather” which blocked his intended flight route, and he turned around.

The accident airplane’s fragmented wreckage was discovered in an area of steep, tree-covered terrain, about 2,500 feet msl (Altitude above Mean Sea Level), near the area where the third airplane turned around.

The NTSB discovered no mechanical problems with the airplane during postaccident inspections. An NTSB weather study revealed instrument meteorological conditions in the area at the time of the accident.

Photographs recovered from a passenger’s camera depicted deteriorating weather conditions as the flight progressed.

A charter boat captain, who had seen numerous float-equipped tour airplanes operating in adverse weather conditions, called the local FAA Flight Standards District Office (FSDO) 9 days before the accident, to report his sightings.

Probable cause findings by the NTSB reveled that according to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), no specific tour operator could be identified during the FAA’s ensuing investigation, and no enforcement actions or additional surveillance of any operators was initiated by the FAA.

According to the FAA Flight Standards District Office manager, the local FAA Flight Standards District Office had lost inspectors due to downsizing. The manager reported they had not attempted to observe operators’ adherence to weather minimums via ground-based viewing locations along the heavily traveled tour routes, and noted that FAA inspectors used to purchase air tour tickets to provide en route, on-board surveillance, but had not done so for approximately the last 10 years. He noted that additional inspector assistance from other FAA offices was not requested.