Wien Air Alaska Flight 99
A Fairchild F-27 similar to the accident aircraft
|Date||30 August 1975|
|Summary||Controlled flight into terrain in fog, pilot error,|
|Site||Gambell, Alaska, United States
|Aircraft type||Fairchild F-27B|
|Operator||Wien Air Alaska|
|Flight origin||Nome, Alaska, United States|
|1st stopover||Savoonga, Alaska|
|Destination||Gambell Airport Gambell, Alaska, United States|
Wien Air Alaska Flight 99 was a scheduled domestic passenger flight that crashed into Sevuokuk Mountain, when on approach to Gambell Alaska, on 30 August 1975, killing 10 of the 32 crew and passengers on board, including the pilot and co-pilot. The Fairchild F-27B aircraft was operated by Wien Air Alaska.
Wien Air Alaska Flight 99 originated in Nome on 30 August 1975, bound for Savoonga and Gambell. The flight from Nome to Savoonga was uneventful, and the plane departed Savoonga for Gambell at 1327H. As Gambell did not have a tower, the Wien agent at Gambell, upon hearing the plane radio its departure from Savoonga, turned on the non-directional beacon at Gambell to aid the flight's crew in navigation.
Fog was prevalent in the Gambell area, and the crew discussed strategies to land at the airport. After several missed approaches, the plane flew north over the community, and turned east, and then south to make one final pass. The plane passed over Troutman Lake east of Gambell, and turned south, before impacting Sevuokuk Mountain at an altitude of 424 feet (129 m).
After impact, the plane broke apart and was propelled up the mountain approximately 132 feet (40 m), coming to rest inverted. A fire broke out, and the residents of the village came to aid, attempting to put the fire out with hand-held extinguishers. All but one of the injured passengers were able to escape the wreckage. Most of the injured or killed passengers were natives of Nome, Gambell, or Savoonga.
The cause of the crash, according to the NTSB, was improper IFR (Instrument Flight Rules) operation, failure to adhere to instrument approach procedures. The airplane collided with a mountain on a missed approach to landing, after multiple missed approaches. The weather at the airport was below approach minima with a low ceiling and sea fog.