Homer, AK Commuter Plane Crashes, Nov 1987


Homer, Alaska (AP) -- A twin-engine commuter plane crashed and skidded through a fence while trying to land, leaving 16 people dead and five injured, authorities said today.
The Ryan Air Beechcraft 1900, a twin-engine turboprop carrying 19 passengers and two crew members, crashed Monday night and came to a halt about 200 yards from the runway at Homer Airport.
"There was no fire, but there was quite a mess," said Sgt. JIM STOGSDILL, of the Alaska State Troopers in Soldotna.
The flight originated in Kodiak, and after a stop here, was to continue to Kenai and Anchorage, 150 miles to the north.
The fuselage of the aircraft came to rest in a half-foot of snow after plowing through a cyclone fence on the airport perimeter.
SUSAN POLIS, of Homer, said she saw the plane flying strangely just before the crash.
"The Tesoro (gas) station was on my left, and I saw a plane go down right behind it," she said. "It was like there was no lights. I saw it go down over the building and boom! The left wing down, the right wing in the air, and it went down fast. There was no way he could have righted it, I don't think."
"It was definitely out of control," she said. "It just went down really fast."
JIM MICHELANGELO, head of the Alaska office of the National Transportation Safety Board, dispatched a team from Anchorage to investigate the crash, and he said another was being sent from Washington, D. C.
"This is the worst commercial air disaster in the state for several years," MICHELANGELO said.
Homer Fire District Administrator ROBERT PURCELL said the injured, some unconscious, initially were taken to South Peninsula Hospital in Homer. Several were in critical condition and were flown to hospitals in Anchorage.
Two died en route, PURCELL said.
A temporary morgue was established in the Ryan Air hangar, he said.
There was a high overcast but visibility was good at the time of the crash, at 6:28 p.m. AST, PURCELL said.
"I do not believe weather was the primary cause of the problem," PURCELL said. "But the National Transportation Safety Board is here now and conducting the investigation."
Although the aircraft didn't break up upon impact, it was badly damaged, PURCELL said.
"The airframe was relatively intact, but there was some severe structural damage to the aircraft. There were stress wrinkles on the nose and the tail had begun to shear off."
"Most of the passengers were strapped in but the seats had torn loose," PURCELL said. "A lot of things had been thrown around."
"It was a very severe impact although an external photo may not give you that impression. Even among those who survived, the injuries were very severe."
DICK BOTTINI, Ryan Air director of operations, declined comment pending an investigation.
Homer is a town of 2,200 residents and located near the mouth of Cook Inlet.

Anchorage (AP) -- Here is a partial list of the 21 people aboard the Ryan Air turboprop that crashed Monday night while trying to land at Homer Airport.
Sixteen people died and five were injured as a result of the crash, authorities said.
Two of the names were being withheld early Tuesday because relatives had not been notified, the Alaska State Troopers said.
The list, provided by Humana Hospital Alaska, Providence Hospital and state troopers:
SHANE HART, 16, Kenai, in serious condition at Humana Hospital - Alaska, Anchorage.
JAMES W. MARTIN, 17, Soldotna, critical condition at Humana.
ROBERT HURLEY, 26, Kenai, serious condition at Humana.
JARET RUCKET, 15, Kenai, serious condition at Providence Hospital in Anchorage.
TYLEA SPURGIN, 22, Soldotna, in serious condition at Providence.
CURTIS OLT, 38, Kodiak.
JACK COUCHEY, 39, Wasilla.
DILLON KEMPLE, 35, Soldotna.
STEVEN CASTEEL, 34, Soldotna.
LARRY RUCKEL, 41, Soldotna.
STEWART BRANDON, JR., 23, Nikiski.
DAVE ESSEX, 33, Mukwonago, Wis.
PAUL SPICER, 36, Wasilla.
STEVE LILLARD, 34, Soldotna.
SHAWN TAYLOR, 36, Girdwood.
FRANK GRISWOLD, 36, Anchorage.

Daily Sitka Sentinal Alaska 1987-11-24


Paul Spicer

Chantell- if you want, send me an email. I was a freind of your Dad.

Russ Watts

Plane Crash

Hi im 13 and my grandpa died in this plane crash I wasn't even born yet. I'm so sorry this happened to you and all of us. I hope all is well with your family...

Wow, im just now reading all

Wow, im just now reading all these replys and comments im sorry that i havent got back sooner! Im on the phone with her and shes crying, it puts tears in my eyes just even thinking of it! Im so very sorry for everyones losses! She has tons of questions that she wants to ask because she doesnt remember a thing! If you could email me personally that would be great my email is vwillard09@gmail.com

Replying to your comment...

Hello, my name is Victoria Willard. My mother is Tylea A. Spurgin. She is one of the survivors of this plane wreck. If you could message me back that would be great! Shes alive and doing well.

Look forward to hearing from you!!

Hello, my father William

Hello, my father William Rodgers died in that crash. He was coming back from a hunting trip. I just need to know that he didn't suffer.

My uncle shane was in this

My uncle shane was in this shane hart... he is the hardest working man I know and is an amazing man

I am very glad to hear that.

I am very glad to hear that. I pulled your mother out of that plane. I knew she was still alive several months afterward, but I have long wonered if she made it through. Tell her I still remember her and wish her well.

RE: Your Mother

My mother Tylea Spurgin did recover. She lives in Montana now. She is doing great! She is a very strong women. Her back hurts a lot and so does her leg but she is going to be having surgery AGAIN :) But hopefully this time it will help her. Also she is going to be getting her leg cut off this year sometime. But other than that she is doing well. Thank you! :) Love Always Victoria Spurgin!

My father died in the same

My father died in the same crash as well. His name was William Rodgers.

My dad also was killed in

My dad also was killed in this plane crash. I was just back in Alaska for my high school reunion and it brought up some memories and feelings...