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Up To 500 Gallons of Fuel Is Released Into Unalaska Bay Following LifeMed Plane Crash

KUCB Contributor

The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) reports that up to 500 gallons of fuel has spilled into Unalaska Bay following a LifeMed plane crash early Thursday morning.

"An unknown amount of Jet A fuel has been released at this time," said the state agency in a press release. "The fuel capacity of a King Air B200 Aircraft is 545 gallons. The U.S. Coast Guard reports there was an estimated 430-440 gallons of Jet A on board at the time of takeoff." 

The LifeMed medevac plane crashed into the water approximately 100 feet northwest of the end of the runway shortly after takeoff from the Unalaska airport on its way to pick up a medevac patient in Adak. The cause of the plane crash is unknown at this time. 

The plane has sunk below the water's surface into 60-100 feet of water, and the fuel vents are unsecured, leaving the source uncontrolled, according to the DEC.

Vessel traffic has been rerouted away from the area of the crash by Coast Guard personnel.

Divers are unable to deploy to the sunken plane at this time. A marine salvage contractor is set to raise the plane in the coming days, weather permitting. 

Unalaska Bay supports several species listed under the Endangered Species Act likely to be present at this time, including: Steller sea lions, Northern sea otters, and Steller’s eiders.

Hope McKenney is a public radio news director, reporter, producer and host based in the Aleutian Islands, Alaska.
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