Air taxi president injured in crash

Aviation company employee unhurt after small plane goes down

Posted: Tuesday, June 12, 2007

ANCHORAGE - A private airplane piloted by the president of an air taxi company crashed in western Alaska, resulting in minor injuries, officials said Monday.

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Hageland Aviation Services President Jim Tweto suffered minor injuries Sunday after a small aircraft he was piloting crashed about 70 miles southeast of Buckland, Hageland Director of Operations Patrick Thurston said.

Tweto was transported to Providence Alaska Medical Center, where he was listed in fair condition Monday.

Another Hageland employee was in the Piper PA-12 but was unhurt, Thurston said. He would not release the second employee's name.

The two were the only occupants of the plane, Alaska Air National Guard officials said.

Thurston said the aircraft was privately owned and did not belong to Hageland. He said Tweto was flying it for recreational purposes.

A commercial jumbo jet notified the Guard's 11th Rescue Coordination Center around 5:30 p.m. Sunday that an emergency locater beacon was signaling in the area about 150 miles south of Kotzebue, said McHugh Pierre, a spokesman for the Alaska Department of Military and Veterans Affairs.

A Civil Air Patrol unit from Bethel flew over the crash scene, where Guard members saw the two survivors. The guard then contacted Alaska State Troopers in Nome.

Tweto has been president of Hageland, an Anchorage-based air taxi service that serves Bush Alaska, for about four years. Thurston described him as an experienced pilot.

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