ANCHORAGE, Alaska — The pilot of a Cessna 207 was killed when the plane crashed into rugged terrain west of Juneau on Friday afternoon, according to Alaska State Troopers. The four passengers survived.
Troopers identified the pilot as 45-year-old Fariah Peterson of Birmingham, Alabama. She was flying Wings of Alaska Flight 202 from Juneau to the community of Hoonah, Alaska Dispatch News reported (http://bit.ly/1Mh8HQ0).
Wings of Alaska flies scheduled passenger service to small southeast Alaska communities. Its services also include sightseeing trips and charters. Company executive vice president Tim Seiber said the flight involved was a scheduled flight.
Troopers said they were still investigating the cause of the crash late Friday.
Peterson's family told the Alaska Dispatch News that the Alabama woman was determined to fly.
"I can remember when we would ride the school bus she would pretend that we were flying and she would be the pilot," said Michelle Ramsey, Peterson's 48-year-old sister, in a phone interview from Alabama.
Ramsey said Peterson grew up in Alabama and graduated from flight school in Michigan more than a decade ago. She was scheduled to fly in Alaska until September before transferring to Tennessee.
"She loved doing what she was doing, and we're very grateful that she saved the lives of those passengers. We're praying that all of them heal and recover," Ramsey said.
Troopers identified the flight passengers as Juneau resident 57-year-old Humberto Hernandez and his wife, 60-year-old Sandra Herrera, as well as 15-year-old Jose Vasquez of Puerto Rico and 64-year-old Ernestine Hanlon-Abel of Hoonah.
The Coast Guard took all four survivors by helicopter to Juneau for treatment.
Bartlett Regional Hospital said in a statement that one passenger was in critical condition and another was in serious condition.
Hoonah is a town of about 800 people about 40 miles west of Juneau, a mostly Tlingit community that city council member Mary Erickson described as tight-knit. She told Alaska Dispatch News early Friday evening that Hoonah residents were following news of the crash on social media and news websites.
"In one way or another everyone is related," Erickson said. "It's mostly local people that travel back and forth."
The city's mayor, Ken Skaflestad, said Friday afternoon that Hoonah residents depend on planes or the ferry service to travel to and from the town on Chichagof Island.
"It's accepted for us in the Bush that we are flying around and there are risks," Skaflestad said. "The whole town has one ear to the telegraph to see what they can find out."
This story has been corrected to show the name of the injured passenger is Humberto Hernandez, not Humberto Herrera.
Information from: Alaska Dispatch News, http://www.adn.com