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Cook Inlet plane crash attributed to engine trouble

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Four people survived a small plane crash in the Cook Inlet on Sunday night.

Karis Johannes, a 48-year-old from Wasilla, and Palmer residents Jill and Douglas Warner, ages 56 and 54, were flying with pilot Scott Johannes, 48, when the plane crashed into the water east of Kalgin Island, Alaska State Troopers spokeswoman Megan Peters said.

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Jim LaBelle, the Alaska chief of the National Transportation Safety Board, said there was a reported loss of engine power on the Cessna 185.

The pilot landed in rough water. LaBelle said the plane’s floats were ripped off.

Peters said Trooper Shane Stephenson was already in the area in a helicopter, and responded to the accident after the pilot reported the crash to 911.

Stephenson gave the victims a life raft, but could not land because of conditions, Peters said.

In an interview with the Peninsula Clarion Sunday night, Peters said that the fact that Stephenson was in the area probably sped up the rescue by an hour.

The rescue was a joint effort.

Peters said a United States Fish and Wildlife Service aircraft assisted in the search effort, and commercial fishermen in a skiff transported the survivors from the life raft to a set net site on Kalgin Island. A helicopter later transported them to Anchorage.

No one reported any injuries other than hypothermia, Peters said. The aircraft sank shortly after the victims were rescued.

Kalgin Island is southwest of Kenai in the Cook Inlet.

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