State Briefs

Posted: Sunday, July 14, 2002

Plane recovered from channel

JUNEAU - The Wings of Alaska floatplane that capsized Friday in Gastineau Channel is being repaired, company officials said Saturday. But they still hadn't extensively interviewed the pilot and couldn't say more about how the incident happened.

Wings of Alaska canceled about six tour flights Friday after the incident, but resumed flights Saturday, said company President Rusty Shaub.

The de Havilland Beaver capsized sometime after pilot Jim Williams landed it in the channel near the mouth of Gold Creek at about 8:40 a.m. Williams, who was uninjured in the incident, was the plane's only occupant.

The plane, still submerged except for its upside-down floats, was towed late Friday afternoon to Trucano Construction's industrial yard on the Douglas waterfront north of the Douglas Bridge. There a crane lifted the plane onto land, and it was partly disassembled and taken by trailer to the Wings hangar at the Juneau Airport at about 8 p.m., Shaub said.

"What we know is when we got the airplane up, the fuselage is intact. Everything seems to be fine," he said.

The floats had about $8,000 of damage, and other components that were wet will be replaced, he said.

Shaub said Saturday that Williams was still shaken up by the experience and hadn't been extensively questioned by company officials. The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board are expected to investigate the incident, but hadn't begun by Saturday morning, Shaub said.

Shaub said the plane was taxiing on the water after landing when it capsized. Williams "was still going fast on top of the water when whatever happened happened," Shaub said.

State certifies Haines merger vote

JUNEAU - The Division of Elections has certified the vote consolidating the governments of Haines and the Haines Borough.

The certified vote was 658 to 524, said division official Virginia Breeze.

As preliminary figures indicated, there was a big difference in the tally inside and outside of the city.

The vote inside the city was 575 to 213 in favor of consolidation. Outside the city, 83 people voted for the merger and 311 voted no.

The result can be contested within the next 30 days, Breeze said. If the results stand, a new borough Assembly could be elected in October.

A previous consolidation vote in 1998 failed by three votes.

Man faces 75-year sentence for murder

FAIRBANKS - A Fairbanks man has pleaded no contest to first-degree murder in the stabbing death of his ex-wife last year.

Adam Williams, 31, entered the plea Thursday in Fairbanks Superior Court. As part of a plea agreement, he will avoid a maximum 99-year-old prison term without parole. But he still faces up to 75 years in prison.

Williams is accused of stabbing 28-year-old Lisana Burch to death in June 2001 at their former home just north of Fairbanks. According to court records, Burch had just been granted a divorce and custody of the couple's children.

Knowles signs veterans bill

JUNEAU - Gov. Tony Knowles signed into law on Friday a bill that casts the Alaska Veterans Advisory Council into state law.

The council had been created by Knowles through a 1996 executive order to advise the governor and the state Department of Military and Veterans Affairs on matters affecting veterans and their families.

The Legislature approved a bill during special session this year to set the council's duties into state law. Since it is state law, only the Legislature can now eliminate the council when Knowles leaves office in December.

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