The Latest: Official says plane cartwheeled in Alaska crash

KETCHIKAN, Alaska (AP) — The Latest on a second fatal Alaska floatplane crash in a week (all times local):

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4:50 p.m.

Witnesses told U.S. investigators that one of the two floats on a plane in a deadly commuter crash Monday dug into water during landing, causing the right wing to hit the water and then the aircraft to cartwheel several times.

Clint Johnson, chief of the National Transportation Safety Board in Alaska, says witnesses reported the Beaver floatplane operated by Taquan Air landed upside down and became submerged in water.

The pilot, 51-year-old Ron Rash of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and 32-year-old passenger Sarah Luna died when the single-engine plane crashed in Metlakatla Harbor.

Johnson said he anticipates the preliminary report into the crash to be released by the end of the week.

The crash followed the May 13 midair collision of a Taquan Air Otter floatplane with another floatplane. Six people died in that crash and another 10 people were injured.

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3:20 p.m.

The police chief of Metlakatla has identified the pilot of Monday's deadly commuter plane crash in that Alaska community.

The pilot was identified as 51-year-old Ron Rash of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. He was identified by Police Chief Bruce Janes.

Also killed was 32-year-old passenger Sarah Luna, a staff epidemiologist with the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium.

The two died when a Beaver floatplane operated by Taquan Air crashed in Metlakatla Harbor on Monday afternoon.

Monday's crash followed the May 13 midair collision of a Taquan Air Otter floatplane with another floatplane. Six people died in that crash and another 10 people were injured.

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12:20 p.m.

An Alaska tribal health organization says the passenger killed in the state's latest floatplane crash was a staff epidemiologist.

The Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium in a statement Tuesday said that Sarah Luna joined the group nearly a year ago.

Consortium spokeswoman Shirley Young says Luna was flying to the community of Metlakatla to provide health services when the plane crashed.

Luna's uncle Carlos Luna says his niece was 32. She was originally from Camarillo, California.

Luna and the pilot of a Beaver floatplane operated by Taquan Air were killed when the aircraft crashed in Metlakatla Harbor on Monday afternoon. The pilot's name has not been made public.

Monday's crash followed the May 13 midair collision of a Taquan Air Otter floatplane with another floatplane. Six people died in that crash and another 10 people were injured.

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Eds: Corrects model of Taquan plane in May 13 crash to Otter, not Beaver.

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10 a.m.

Federal officials say an Alaska air carrier involved in two deadly floatplane crashes in a week has voluntarily suspended operations.

The Federal Aviation Administration says the halt of flightseeing and commuter flights is in place until further notice.

The action comes after the passenger and the pilot of a Beaver floatplane operated by Taquan Air were killed when the aircraft crashed in Metlakatla Harbor on Monday afternoon during a scheduled commuter flight from Ketchikan.

Taquan Air officials did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Clint Johnson, chief of the National Transportation Safety Board in Alaska, says witnesses reported the crash occurred during landing.

Monday's crash followed the May 13 midair collision of a Taquan Air Otter floatplane with another floatplane. Six people died in that crash and another 10 people were injured.___

Eds: Corrects model of Taquan plane in May 13 crash to Otter, not Beaver

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6:25 a.m.

Authorities say the second Alaska floatplane crash in a week has killed two people in the same region where two floatplanes collided last week in an accident that left six people dead.

Ketchikan Gateway Borough spokeswoman Deanna Thomas said in a statement that the passenger and the pilot of a Beaver floatplane operated by Taquan Air crashed in Metlakatla Harbor Monday afternoon.

The accident followed the May 13 midair collision of a Taquan Air Otter floatplane with another floatplane.

Thomas says the circumstances of the latest crash are not yet being made public.

The victims in the latest crash were not identified because their families were being notified.

Thomas says the floatplane was being towed to land.

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Eds: Corrects model of Taquan plane in May 13 crash to Otter, not Beaver

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The 12:20 p.m. item has been corrected to reflect passenger is originally from Camarillo, California, not Oxnard, California.