Commuter plane crash on Alaska island critically injures two

Peninsula Airways said that two passengers were critically injured and 10 others were receiving medical care.

    The plane was carrying members of a high school swimming team from Cordova, Alaska [Jim Paulin/AP]
    The plane was carrying members of a high school swimming team from Cordova, Alaska [Jim Paulin/AP]

    A commuter aeroplane carrying 42 people, including a high school swimming team, went off the runway while landing at a small Alaska community in the United States on the Bering Sea.

    Peninsula Airways said in a statement that two passengers were critically injured and 10 others were receiving medical care after Thursday's incident at the airport in Unalaska in the Aleutian Islands.

    Unalaska is home to Dutch Harbor, one of the nation's busiest fishing ports.

    An witness said the flight from Anchorage to Dutch Harbor landed near the water about 500 feet (150 metres) beyond the airport.

    'Major investigation'

    Clint Johnson, head of the Alaska region of the National Transportation Safety Board, told Anchorage television station KTUU that he could not immediately say whether anyone died in the crash, citing the need for better investigation of the crash site hundreds of miles from Anchorage.

    "We've got a major investigation going here, and there's all sorts of rumors going around," he said.

    Some passengers were transported from the airport in an ambulance, but others left with the assistance of residents, including families who planned to host the visiting swimmers.

    The plane appeared to have been forced beyond its planned landing area by high winds, Paulin said. 

    SOURCE: AP news agency