1 person dies in Tutka Bay plane accident, Troopers say

Jul 19, 2019

Credit Alaska State Troopers

Updated: Monday, July 22 

Alaska State Troopers are investigating a fatal floatplane crash Friday morning near Homer. Seven people were aboard the de Havilland Beaver plane. There was one reported fatality: 57-year-old Joseph Patenella of Maryland. 

Troopers spokesman Ken Marsh says medics responded to a report of a crash at around 10 a.m. near Tutka Bay. The Trooper patrol vessel Augustine carried injured passengers to Homer Harbor where all were transported to South Peninsula Hospital.

Initial reports from the Coast Guard say the plane aborted at take-off and never left the water. 

The plane’s manifest included the deceased man’s wife and three children. South Peninsula Hospital spokeswoman Derotha Ferraro says the mother and two children were medevacked to Providence Medical Center in Anchorage. One child was treated and released. 

The other passenger and the pilot, identified as Engjell Berisha, were also treated and released. 

Rust's Flying Service, a charter company based in Anchorage, operated the plane. The company said it has suspended its operations. 

This is a developing story. Check back in for updates.