KETCHIKAN - The pilot of a float plane that crashed into Tongass Narrows on Monday died Tuesday afternoon at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.
Promech Air pilot Jon Ernest Copeland, 27, was the only person in the DeHavilland Beaver when the plane went down at about 5:45 p.m. Monday near Wolfe Point. He was making his last flight of the day, said Mark Easterly, chief of operations for Promech Air.
Copeland had delivered one passenger to the float plane dock at Ketchikan International Airport before taking off to return the plane to the Promech Air base in Ketchikan, said Easterly. A witness said the plane climbed at a steep angle, then nose-dived into the water.
The cause of the crash has not been determined. The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board will investigate.
After being retrieved unconscious from the upside-down and mostly submerged plane at about 6:15 p.m. Monday, Copeland was taken by skiff to the airport ferry dock and transported by ambulance to Ketchikan General Hospital. He was later flown to Harborview.