In the first week of September, 45 years ago, Robert Mottram flew by helicopter to the Chilkat Mountains west of Admiralty Island. It was not a pleasant experience.
On Sept. 4, 1971, Alaska Airlines Flight 1866, en route from Anchorage to Seattle via Cordova, Yakutat, Juneau and Sitka, slammed into a mountainside while approaching Juneau International Airport. All 111 people aboard the aircraft were killed. It was — and remains — Alaska’s worst air disaster.
“It’s like being on another planet,” wrote Mottram, the Juneau bureau chief for the Associated Press, at the time.