The Alaska Division of Forestry reported that four of their employees survived a plane crash near the western Alaska village of Aniak today, May 28 at approximately 4 p.m.
The DOF said the plane, owned by the DOF, crashed into the Kuskokwim River on takeoff. There were four people on board, including the pilot, and all four individuals suffered injuries. The seriousness of the injuries is unknown at this time.
Alaska State Troopers and local Emergency Services personnel responded to the crash. The National Transportation Safety Board and Federal Aviation Administration have been notified.
The plane, an Aero Commander 500 Shrike, was transporting emergency firefighters from two western Alaska villages to Soldotna to support initial attack wildfire responses for the Kenai/Kodiak Area Forestry station.
David Mattson, who runs a shop near the runway, took these photos. He said the water at the site was shallow enough that personnel waded in and rescued the four individuals. He said the aircraft crashed into a gravel pit pond near the river about 2.5 miles west of the northwest end of the runway, rather than in the river as reported by the DOF. Another resident of Aniak confirmed the crash was in the gravel pit.