SAN ANTONIO – A local business owner is providing his first-hand account of his near-death experience after the plane he was a passenger of crashed on the side of an Alaska mountain.
On Tuesday, the U.S. Coast Guard said two of its Jayhawk helicopter crews rescued 11 people after their floatplane crashed on the side of Mt. Jumbo on Prince of Wales Islands, which is about 39 miles south-southwest of Ketchikan, Alaska.
Among the 11 survivors was businessman Bob Price who owns several businesses including car dealerships in San Antonio and surrounding areas.
The U.S. Coast Guard Alaska shared images of the crash where rescuers are seen near the floatplane with the passengers nearby.
#ThisJustIn-Shown in the photo is a #USCG Air Station #Sitka #rescueswimmer (bright orange suit) assessing some of the crash survivors from the plane crash on Mt. Jumbo, 39 miles SSW of Ketchikan. All 11 survived. Thanks to Ketchikan Volunteer Rescue Squad for assisting! pic.twitter.com/xZCFEANnas— USCGAlaska (@USCGAlaska) July 11, 2018
Low visibility conditions didn't stop an #AirStation #Sitka #Jayhawk crew from rescuing 11 from a downed aircraft on Mt. Jumbo, Prince of Wales Island. "The coordinated efforts showcased how #Alaskans stand together & help each other out," said LCDR Plunkett, pilot on the case. pic.twitter.com/JcpJwSoKH0— USCGAlaska (@USCGAlaska) July 11, 2018
Officials said the weather at the time of the incident was about a two-mile visibility and the crash was about 2,000 feet in elevation.
Price told KSAT.com that they are lucky to be alive and can't thank the Coast Guard enough for rescuing them.
“We came out of the clouds and ran into the mountain (and) the plane snagged a crevice. (If not), we would have slid down the mountain and died,” Price told KSAT.com. “I thought I snapped my spine in two.”
The U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Sitka shared raw footage of the rescue, where Price is seen wearing a blue jacket as he embraces his fellow passengers inside the helicopter’s passenger cabin.
Plane crash search and rescue
A U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Sitka MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew hoists 11 people from the crash site of a downed float plane on Mount Jumbo, on Prince of Wales Island, Alaska, July 10, 2018. The Coast Guard, Ketchikan Volunteer Rescue Squad personnel and Alaska State Troopers coordinated the rescue of 11 people who survived a plane crash at 2,000 feet in elevation on the side of Mount Jumbo, 39 miles south southwest of Ketchikan, Alaska. U.S. Coast Guard video by Air Station Sitka.Posted by U.S. Coast Guard Alaska on Wednesday, July 11, 2018
Price said he was the one who dialed 911 but that his brother, David Price, was the one who gave the operator coordinates to their location.
“David stayed in contact and guided the Coast Guard with info. David told the Coast Guard where we were at in relation to a lake below us,” Price said.
Price told KSAT.com that the Coast Guard crew who rescued them were also running low on fuel, but that they “got all of us.”
“The Coast Guard did an amazing job (and) the swimmer is certified bad a… I can’t thank them enough,” Price said.
Officials said the 11 people were reported to have minor injuries and in good condition.
Price told KSAT.com that he was at the Ketchikan Hospital shortly after the rescue until he was Medevaced to Seattle. He said his friend is still in the hospital and is waiting for his next surgery.