A local Alaska man is being hailed a hero for jumping into action and helping victims after two tourist sea planes crashed mid air.
On Monday, the planes crashed at about 3,300 feet in the air, killing six people on board including a pilot and injuring the 10 survivors.
Retired fisherman Chuck Hanas was out on his boat with his wife Colleen when they saw the violent mid-air crash and the planes crash into the water.
‘It was just me. I was at the right place at the right time,’ Hanas said to the Today show.
‘I got in close and saw people bobbing all over the place. I didn’t know how many. And then they had seen me and one lady said “Help, Help!”‘ he added.
Hero retired fisherman Chuck Hanas pulled victims of Monday’s sea plane crash in Alaska onto his boat after seeing the planes plunged into water and victims ‘bobbing in the water’
He was out on his boat when he saw the two tourist sea planes suddenly crash mid air, ki8lling six people on board and injuring 10
‘I got in close and saw people bobbing all over the place. I didn’t know how many. And then they had seen me and one lady said “Help, Help!”‘ he recalled. Pictured above with wife
They called the Coast Guard after seeing the plane horrifically crash and one fall in the George Inlet in southeast Alaska.
‘It was shocking to see an airplane hit the water that hard and rip the floats off and turn upside down at the same time. I’m not sure anybody was even able to get out of there,’ he said.
‘I was kind of running on autopilot at that point. I didn’t really think anything other than I was just trying to get the people out of the water,’ he added.
He said he saw an injured pilot with bloody lacerations to his face also scramble to get passengers to safety.
‘He didn’t speak but he did shake my hand,’ Hanas recalled on working together to pull the passengers out of the icy water before hypothermia set in.
Six people died in the collision including four Americans, a Canadian, and an Australian.
Among those victims was a newly married couple ready to start a family, a pilot who used his family’s savings to buy his own plane, a devoted family man from Australia and an office manager at an insurance company.
Ryan, 39, and Elsa Wilk, 37 got married last year and they both worked in the tech center. They were planning to move from British British Columbia to their new home in a Salt Lake City suburb with the hopes of starting a family at the time of the crash
Randy Jason Sullivan, 46, was piloting the de Havilland DHC-2 Beaver (above) owned by Mountain Air Service that collided with a larger sightseeing plane on Monday
He was a father of two and been a pilot with mountain Air since 2012, flying tour groups over the rugged wilderness of Alaska’s Inside Passage, a popular cruise ship route
There were a total of 14 passengers and two pilots on the two planes. The passengers were from the cruise ship Royal Princess that was on a seven-day trip in Alaska that offered the sea planes trip as an excursion off the port community of Ketchikan.
Alaska State Troopers identified the passengers who died as 46-year-old Louis Botha of San Diego, 56-year-old Simon Bodie from Tempe, New South Wales, Australia, 62-year-old Cassandra Webb from St. Louis, 39-year-old Ryan Wilk from Utah and 37-year-old Elsa Wilk of Richmond, British Columbia, Canada. Also killed was the pilot of one of the planes, 46-year-old Randy Sullivan of Ketchikan.
Simon Bodie was the sole Australian on the sea plane. He was a 56-year-old businessman from Tempe, New South Wales and was described by Australian media as a ‘devoted family man’ with two kids.
Ryan and Elsa Wilk got married last year and they both worked in the tech center. They were planning to move from British British Columbia to their new home in a Salt Lake City suburb with the hopes of starting a family.
Wilk, 39 and from Salt Lake City Utah, was a cybersecurity expert and a vice president for the Canadian firm NuData Security, a division of MasterCard.
‘I can tell you my brother was an amazing man, son, husband, brother and uncle. We are completely devastated,’ his sister, Shannon Wilk, told Salt Lake City television station KSL.
‘Ryan was a very kind man with a fun personality. I loved how much we laughed together,’ Daniela Veliz Llaguno, Wilk’s first wife, told The Associated Press.
Six people were killed in the devastating crash including four Americans, a Canadian, and an Australian. One of the crashed sea planes pictured above in the George Inlet near Ketchikan, Alaska
Emergency crews pictured above transporting an injured passenger on Monday
The two sea planes crashed midair at 3,300 feet after taking off from Ketchikan, Alaska. One plane then fell into the George Inlet
Elsa Wilk, 37 and from British Columbia, was a fierce black belt taekwondo competitor and worked as a marketing director for different tech companies in Vancouver. She traveled around the world to compete in the sport.
‘Everyone knew them as a wonderful couple, they were totally in love,’ their friend Mark Pashley said.
Elsa’s brother Louis Botha of San Diego was also on board and died in the crash.
Pilot Randy Jason Sullivan, 46, was a father of two and been a pilot with mountain Air since 2012, flying tour groups over the rugged wilderness of Alaska’s Inside Passage, a popular cruise ship route.
In an interview to the Los Angeles Times in 2015 he said he know the perils of flying.
‘The danger it’s on people’s minds. Always,’ he said.
His wife Julie said she kissed him before each flight as a gesture of good luck and love.
The NTSB is now interviewing survivors, the surviving pilot, and most of the wreckage has been removed from the site as the investigation continues.
The larger of the floatplanes was recovered and put on a barge to be transported to Ketchikan, National Transportation Safety Board member Jennifer Homendy said Wednesday. The NTSB has a team of investigators from Washington, D.C., at the scene.