FAA techs briefly stranded on isolated island

A pair of FAA technicians found themselves on the wrong end of an aerial accident earlier this month, as a crash stranded them 80 miles out in the Gulf of Alaska.

According to a report from the Federal Aviation Administration, two FAA technicians and their pilot were marooned on Middleton Island when the landing gear of their Piper PA-31 collapsed and struck the plane’s wing on landing.

Ian Gregor, a spokesman for the FAA’s Pacific Division, said the twin-engine plane was flying from Kenai when it attempted to land on the uninhabited island on the morning of Nov. 18. The island was receiving heavy snow, and the plane set down hard enough to damage its landing gear.

Middleton is seldom visited, due to its distance from the mainland and lack of facilities. The FAA maintains a navigation station on the island, and the National Weather Service has a radar station there, but both are automated and have no on-site staff.

None of the three aboard the plane were injured, but they were stranded on the island until a replacement aircraft arrived.

Gregor said neither of the technicians was available for comment.

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