The National Transportation Safety Board released photos from the search for an air ambulance that crashed in January.
Officials with Utah-based Guardian Flight say the search ended March 27 after covering 7 square miles of ocean floor and traversing more than 700 linear miles by ship.
After an extensive underwater search, the wreckage of a Beechcraft King Air 200 was recovered from the ocean waters of Fredrick Sound near Kake.
According to a report by CoastAlaska, the night the U.S. Coast Guard received a report from the Kake clinic of an overdue air ambulance, its nearest helicopters at Air Station Sitka were about 40 miles away and for the first 12 hours of the search, no helicopters were able to assist due to technical issues.
According to mission logs obtained by CoastAlaska under the Freedom of Information Act, the Sitka air station’s “ready bird” Jayhawk immediately ran into problems, and while Coast Guard Cutter crews were able to search from the water, no aircraft was able to assist until the morning.
Pilot Patrick Coyle, flight nurse Stacie Rae Morse and flight paramedic Margaret Langston were Guardian Flight employees based in Juneau. Morse was pregnant with a child she planned to name Delta Rae. The bodies have not been recovered.
Searchers earlier found most of the plane wreckage, including the cockpit voice recorder or “black box”, over a large debris field in Frederick Sound.
Clint Johnson, the National Transportation Safety Board’s regional chief in Anchorage, told CoastAlaska that the “black box” was in poor condition, and that it is unknown whether they will be able to retrieve useful data from it.
“We’re not sure if it’s actually impact damage or if its water immersion damage,” Johnson said Monday. “However, not all is lost at this point. Right now, our engineers in our cockpit voice recorder lab are working very, very hard to try and recover that information.”
The King Air 200 disappeared Jan. 29 flying to pick up a patient in the Southeast community of Kake. The pilot, flight nurse and flight paramedic were Guardian Flight employees.