A Beech 1900C aircraft operated by ACE Air Cargo crashed into the sea last night at around midnight. The accident occurred shortly after the aircraft took off from Sand Point, Alaska, bound for Anchorage. Both pilots on board are missing.
Eyewitnesses told Coast Guard officials that they saw "an orange flickering off the end of the runway" at Sand Point Airport (SDP) at about the time of the crash. Sand Point is on Popof Island, off the coast of the Alaska Peninsula.
According to an article about the accident in the Anchorage Daily News, boats are searching the waters in the area near the crash. The Coast Guard sent a Jayhawk helo and a C-130 from Kodiak to assist with the search. Debris has been found, including pieces of fuselage and a seat, but there has been no sign of the pilots so far.
The company released the following statement earlier today:
ACE Air Cargo has joined the search for our Beech 1900 aircraft, that disappeared shortly after departing Sand Point, Alaska with two pilots on board yesterday evening. At this time, we are focused on the welfare of our pilots and their families and will be releasing no further information at this time. We ask that the media respect the privacy of our employees and their families at this time. More information will be released as it becomes available.
UPDATE Jan. 23, 2010: The Anchorage Daily News reported this morning that the Coast Guard has suspended its search for the two pilots.
Condolences to their families and friends, and their colleagues at ACE Air Cargo.
UPDATE Mar. 15, 2010: NTSB update on ACE Air Cargo Beech 1900C accident in Alaska