All four passengers aboard an aircraft that attempted to land on a rural airstrip in Alaska were injured after it crashed just shy of the runway, officials said.
Three of the people travelling on board the de Havilland DHC-3 fixed-wing single-engine airplane were seriously injured and required treatment at nearby hospitals, the US Coast Guard said in a press release.
The fourth person, the Coast Guard added, suffered only minor injuries and was able to be tended to by community members in the neighbouring community of Yakutat.
The cause of the crash has yet to be determined and the National Transportation Safety Board will investigate it, the Associated Press reported.
On Tuesday at approximately 3pm, the charter flight for Yakutat Coast Airlines attempted to land on the tree lined airstrip but crashed just before reaching it, the Coast Guard said.
One of the Coast Guard’s Sitka helicopters that arrived on the scene transported two of the injured people with critical injuries back to Yakutat while local authorities drove a third person who was experiencing breathing difficulties back to the same area.
An aircrew from the Coast Guard then flew all three of those passengers to the Anchorage International Airport, where they were then transported to Providence Alaska Medical Center and Alaska Native Center.
The fourth person, who was in more stable condition than the rest, was driven to the Yakutat community by a local volunteer.
In April, a small plane transporting a Christian mission organisation also crashed in Alaska, injuring all five passengers on board.
A recent investigation conducted by ProPublica in conjunction with KUCB found that Alaska makes up a growing share of America’s fatalities from aircraft crashes, which would include commuter, air taxi and charter flights.
The investigation found that while nationally, deaths from these kinds of crashes have been falling, in Alaska, the fatalities have actually increased from 26 per cent in 2000 to 42 per cent since 2016.
Experts told the reporters at the time that the investigation was published in June 2021 that the Federal Aviation Administration, who oversees air travel regulations in the country, hadn’t done enough to improve aviation safety in Alaska.