ALASKA (KTUU/NBC News) – Chuck Hanas was the first person to arrive at the scene of Monday’s fatal plane collision in Ketchikan, Alaska.
He and his wife Colleen Nesbitt were aboard their boat, the “Hotel California,” when they saw a plane going down in George Inlet. Hanas quickly steered toward the plane while sending out a call for coast guard assistance over the radio.
“When I came closer, I saw a bunch of people floating in an area of 50 or 60 yards,” Hanas said. “The airplane crashed and went tail up… then sank within minutes.”
As it turns out, that plane was the Taquan Air “otter” plane that went down during the mid-air collision.
Hanas got into his inflatable raft and began pulling the injured passengers to shore while his wife kept their boat off the rocks and out of the way.
“I went to the first person, one woman was calling for help and when I got to her she was bleeding quite a bit, but her husband, or the man that was with her, was not doing well. I think it ended up that he had a broken back.”
Alaska State Troopers identified the passengers who died as 46-year-old Louis Botha of San Diego, 56-year-old Simon Bodie from Tempe, New South Wales, Australia, 62-year-old Cassandra Webb from St. Louis, 39-year-old Ryan Wilk from Utah and 37-year-old Elsa Wilk of Richmond, British Columbia, Canada. Also killed was the pilot of one of the planes, 46-year-old Randy Sullivan of Ketchikan.
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