A man was struck by a plane and suffered severe head injuries last week at a base camp on the frozen Beaufort Sea in Alaska. He was there for a Navy submarine exercise, according to Alaska-based federal investigators. The National Transportation Safety Board released a preliminary report Tuesday about the March 20 incident at Ice Camp Skate, the Navy’s base camp for Ice Exercise 2018.
According to the NTSB report, the incident occurred at about 7:45 p.m., as a de Havilland DHC-6 Twin Otter was taking off along “an airstrip on the sea ice that was lined on both sides with snow berms.” The Twin Otter’s captain said that although skies were clear, the sun was low and “flat light conditions” were in effect. The injured man told the NTSB that he had arranged with the flight crew to take a photo during the Twin Otter’s takeoff. As the plane took off, he stood behind a berm on the left side of the airstrip.
When the plane took off, the captain told the NTSB, the plane “veered slightly to the left of centerline” and he corrected it by applying differential power to the plane’s twin engines.
The report read that “During the turn, both pilots said they heard a loud thump, which was immediately followed by an aileron control anomaly. The captain reported that he continued the left turn and subsequently entered a left downwind traffic pattern for an emergency landing to the north. The captain said that after landing, both pilots saw the pedestrian lying near a snow berm on the left side of the airstrip.”
According to the report, the injured man suffered “serious head and neck injuries” in the collision. Navy officials wrote. “He is in good condition and expected to make a full recovery.
“The pilots involved were placed on administrative leave pending the results of mandatory drug testing and further investigation by the involved agencies,” company officials wrote.