Our day started uneventfully with beautiful sunny skies. We grabbed breakfast and went over to True North Kayak Adventures store to begin our kayak tour. Their slogan is the adventure is in the journey not the destination. This was so true for today. We took a small boat to Yukon Island, a small uninhabited island where the kayak trips take off from. We were arranging our gear when we saw a small plane flying very low. We thought it was strange but maybe they were doing some sightseeing. Unfortunately we were wrong. The plane took two more tight turns and then crashed onto the beach about 250 yards from where our kayak group was standing. It was very surreal to see the plane crash site (luckily we did not see if hit directly because a large rock was blocking our view). It took us a second to get our bearings and to realize what had happened. We then ran to the crash site. When we got closer, there was one woman walking out of the plane with assistance from one of the kayak guides. One other woman had been helped out of the plane and was lying on the sand. She was badly injured with a compound ankle fracture. I stayed with this woman, Cledia, as others stabilized her ankle and placed her on a make shift backboard made from plywood and sticks. Alan helped remove the remaining two people from the plane. When he got there they were moaning but not truly conscious. He first helped remove Jenn the pilot. Next he helped pull Jim from the plane. The group was trying to remove the passengers away from the plane as quickly as possible because they could smell and see the fuel coming out of the plane. Alan stayed with Jenn. She was able to say she was from Homer and the correct day but was struggling more as time went on. The closest coastguard helicopter is stationed in Kodiak so local tourism helicopters came to the site to help transfer the patients to the hospital in Homer. Many boats pulled up to offer assistance. There was a doctor in our kayak group plus a firefighter, nurse, and a retired paramedic on boats. The first helicopter was there within 20 minutes of the plane crash. Jim was taken first because he had a significant head injury. Next the younger woman was taken. We later found out she was pregnant and unfortunately lost the baby. Jen and Cledia were the next to be flown out. It was a frightening experience but we were both very thankful we were able to help out. As of now, all are still alive. Here is a picture of the crash scene.
The plane crash made the front page of the Anchorage Daily News. This is a link to the Homer local paper.
After the police talked with a few people from our kayak group, we were able to start our kayak tour. We were not sure if we even wanted to go out on to the water following such a tragic event. However, it was good to get on the water and clear our heads. It was a beautiful day. We saw many eagles and a few sea otters. Luckily we kayaked away from the crash site.
This is a picture of the plane crash site taken when we were kayaking.
After our trip we cleaned up and went to dinner in Halibut Cove. This cove is only accessible by boat. It has a few art galleries and a great place for dinner. They also had great drinks.
During our boat ride back we enjoyed watching a beautiful sunset.
Our last stop for the night was the Salty Dawg. At this bar, people tack up one dollar bills with notes written on them. If you are ever there, look for our dollar over the doorway into the pool room.