Alaska Plane Crash Preliminary Report Released - WSPA.com

Alaska Plane Crash Preliminary Report Released

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Investigators have released a preliminary report on a plane crash in Alaska that killed all 10 on board. Investigators have released a preliminary report on a plane crash in Alaska that killed all 10 on board.
Antonakos family (Christ Church Episcopal) Antonakos family (Christ Church Episcopal)
McManus family (Christ Church Episcopal) McManus family (Christ Church Episcopal)
The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating. NTSB investigator Clint Johnson says weather does not appear to be a factor in the crash. The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating. NTSB investigator Clint Johnson says weather does not appear to be a factor in the crash.
ANCHORAGE, Alaska -

Alaska Plane Crash Preliminary Report Released - August 8, 2013

Investigators have released a preliminary report on a plane crash in Alaska that killed all 10 on board.

As expected, the National Transportation Safety Board report released late Wednesday contains no new details about the July 7 crash in Soldotna.

The de Havilland DHC-3 Otter operated by Rediske Air crashed and burned after taking off from the Soldotna airport, about 75 miles southeast of Anchorage on the Kenai Peninsula.

NTSB spokesman Peter Knudson says a final report is expected to be released 12 to 18 months after the crash.

Killed in the crash were the pilot, Walter "Willie" Rediske, and two vacationing families from Greenville, S.C.: Melet and Kimberly Antonakos and their three children, ages 11 to 16; and Chris and Stacey McManus and their two teenage children.

Wreckage of plane sent outside of Alaska - July 18, 2013

Pieces of an air taxi that crashed in Alaska, killing 10, have been sent to Washington D.C. and Phoenix.

The Anchorage Daily News says the plane parts will be analyzed as National Transportation Safety Board investigators try to determine the cause of the July 7 crash in Soldotna, about 75 miles southwest of Anchorage.

The de Havilland DHC 3 Otter operated by Rediske Air had just taken off when it crashed.

Killed were all on board, including the pilot Walter "Willie" Rediske.

The passengers were two South Carolina families. They were Melet and Kimberly Antonakos and their three children - 16-year-old Olivia, 14-year-old Mills and 11-year-old Anastacia - and Chris and Stacey and their two children, 17-year-old Meghan and 15-year-old Connor.

Both families lived in Greenville, S. C.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Antonakos Family Funeral Arrangments Set - July 14, 2013

Funeral arrangements have been made for the Antonakos family, according to the Thomas McAfee Funeral Home. A visitation will be held Tuesday, July 16, 2013 from 5:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. at Thomas McAfee Funeral Home, Northwest.

The funeral service will be held Wednesday, July 17, 2013 at 11:00 a.m. at Christ Church Episcopal. Burial will follow in Greenville Memorial Gardens.

Friday Morning Service To Remember Families Of Plane Crash - July 12, 2013

A memorial service has been scheduled to honor the Antonakos and McManus families Friday morning in Greenville.

The service will be held July 12 starting at 11:00 a.m. at Christ Church to honor the families who died in a plane crash Sunday in Alaska.

The service will honor Melet Antonakos, 53, Kim Antonakos, 44, and their children Olivia, Mills and Ana - ages 16, 14 and 11 and Dr. Chris McManus, 46, Stacey McManus, 46, and their children Meghan, 17, and Connor, 14.

The service will be in the Church with a live video feed to Markley Chapel.

Hundreds Show Up For Memorial Service To Honor Antonakos And McManus Families - July 11, 2013

As the sounds of bagpipes played outside of Christ Church Episcopal, people gathered to remember the two families who died in a plane crash while on vacation in Alaska.

"Both the McManus and Antonakos families were charismatic and bright people with inviting smiles they were just people everybody knew," Christ Church Rector, Harrison McLeod said.

Melet and Kim Antonakos and their children Olivia, Mills, and Ana were on board the commuter plane when it crashed.

Along with them was Dr. Chris McManus his wife Stacey and their two children Meghan and Connor.

"Kids are so verbal they are really looking for ways to give voice to their grief," McLeod said.

That is why Thursday's service was all about helping children and teens cope with such a tragic loss.

The children involved in the crash ranged from 11 to 16 years old.

"I would try and help them understand that life is fragile and life is a gift and not to take any gift for granted," McLeod said.

McLeod tells us the church is providing counseling, he says the only way to truly heal is to have an outlet to express your grief.

A second memorial service is scheduled for Friday morning at 11 am at Christ Church.

The service will honor both families and is open to the public.

Two Services Planned To Honor Antonakos And McManus Families - July 10, 2013

A memorial service has been scheduled to honor the Antonakos and McManus families Friday morning in Greenville.

The service will be held July 12 starting at 11:00 a.m. at Christ Church to honor the families who died in a plane crash Sunday in Alaska.

The service will honor Melet Antonakos, 53, Kim Antonakos, 44, and their children Olivia, Mills and Ana - ages 16, 14 and 11 and Dr. Chris McManus, 46, Stacey McManus, 46, and their children Meghan, 17, and Connor, 14.

The service will be in the Church with a live video feed to Markley Chapel.

A candlelight service will celebrate the lives Olivia, Mills, Ana, Meghan, and Connor, at Christ Church in the All Saints Center on Thursday from 7:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.

Service Planned Wednesday At Greenville Memorial Hospital - July 10, 2013 

Greenville Health System says there will be a memorial service Wednesday afternoon for Doctor Chris McManus.

The service will be held in the GHS Medical Auditorium for hospital employees and colleagues of Dr. McManus.

Vigil Held For Greenville Families Killed In Alaska Plane Crash - July 9, 2013

Two upstate families killed in a plane crash and the entire community is grieving.

Tuesday night a prayer vigil was held at Gower Pool in Greenville to remember the nine people killed when their commuter plane crashed in Alaska.

The Antonakos family which included Melet, Kim and their three children Olivia, Mills, and Ana were all killed. The Antonakos children were on a swim team and Gower Pool was like their second home.

"That was a very difficult conversation to have with our kids and it broke them down and it's broken us down," family friend Joel Norwood said.  

Also on the plane was Greenville doctor Chris McManus his wife Stacy, and their two kids Megan and Connor.

"I think it's rare to find people who are selfless in their giving without any strings attached. I admire that about them," Reverend Richard Grimball said. Grimball is the Senior Chaplain at Christ Church Episcopal School where the McManus children went to school.

Candles were placed into the pool where the Antonakos children  spent most of their time practicing with the swim team.

Each candle burned in honor of the victims, the youngest just 11 years old.

Greenville Family Killed In Crash Was Vacationing In Alaska - July 9, 2013

Five members of a vacationing South Carolina family were among those killed in a fiery Alaska plane crash that left all 10 on board dead.

The Antonakos family of Greenville, S.C., usually went to Myrtle Beach, S.C., each summer, but the father of Kimberly Antonakos said Monday his daughter and her family decided to travel to Alaska for 10 days this year instead.

"They were very excited," H. Wayne Clayton said. "They never had been there before and wanted to see what it was like."

Clayton said his son-in-law Melet Antonakos sold computer software to hospitals and doctors' offices, while Kimberly shuffled the three children to their many activities. The children were 16-year-old Olivia, 14-year-old Mills and 11-year-old Ana.

"It's rough, to lose five (family) members at one time, Clayton said.

South Carolina House Majority Leader Bruce Bannister said the other victims were also a family from Greenville, S.C. - Chris McManus and Stacey McManus and their two children.

Investigators have begun their probe into the crash of a de Havilland DHC3 Otter that crashed and burned shortly after 11 a.m. Sunday at the airport in Soldotna, about 75 miles southwest of Anchorage. The plane had just taken off and apparently was en route to a fishing lodge, according to National Transportation Safety Board investigator Clint Johnson.

Bannister said the Antonakos family lived on his street in Greenville. Bannister said the families watched each other's dogs and checked the mail when each was on vacation. Olivia was going to be in 11th grade, Mills was going to be in ninth grade and Anna was going to be in sixth grade next year, he said.

"They were great kids - just a fantastic family," Bannister said.

The victims also included the pilot of the de Havilland DHC3 Otter that went down shortly after 11 a.m. Sunday at the airport in Soldotna, about 75 miles southwest of Anchorage on the Kenai Peninsula, authorities said. Soldotna police said the other four passengers also were from South Carolina, though identities haven't been officially released yet.

The Federal Aviation Administration said the Otter was operated by Rediske Air, based in Nikiski, another Kenai Peninsula community. The pilot of the downed plane was Nikiski-based Walter "Willie" Rediske, company spokesman Andy Harcombe said.

The remains of the victims were sent to the State Medical Examiner's Office in Anchorage for autopsies and positive identifications.

The NTSB sent an investigative team from Washington that arrived in Anchorage Monday afternoon before heading to Soldotna. NTSB member Earl Weener said the on-scene investigation is expected to last between five and eight days, with a probable cause determination expected in about a year.

At the time of the crash, there were light winds and high clouds, Johnson said.

"The weather at this point is obviously still on the table, but it's not something we're centering on," he said. NTSB investigations also look at pilot error and mechanical problems as possible causes.

Rediske Air was involved in an accident last year in Nikiski, according to an NTSB database report.

In the non-injury mishap, the pilot of a Cessna 207A plane misidentified the runway surface at night and landed the aircraft in a snow bank. The pilot said most of the runway lights had been covered by heavy snow and were not clearly visible.

The plane's wings and horizontal stabilizer sustained substantial damage.

In the Soldotna crash, the flames took 10 minutes to extinguish and initially kept firefighters from reaching the wreckage, according to authorities.

The de Havilland is similar to an Otter that crashed in Alaska in 2010, killing former U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens and four others, Johnson said. The plane in the Stevens crash was equipped with floats, while the plane in Sunday's crash had wheels.

Flying in Alaska is common because of the limited road system in the vast state, where planes can encounter such hazards as volatile weather and treacherous mountain passes. The majority of Alaska communities aren't connected to the road system, with small planes providing a vital link to the outside world. They bring in food, medicine, mail and other supplies, and provide for air travel - with scheduled and on-demand flights.

It's possible to drive from Anchorage to Soldotna, but it's about a four-hour trip as the highway hugs Turnagain Arm then cuts through a mountain pass.

Soldotna, with a population of about 4,300, is on the banks of the Kenai River, and the area is busy this time of the year with people fishing for salmon. The airport is located about a mile from a commercial area and has a paved runway that is 5,000 feet long.

Alaska has seen several plane crashes this year, including a June 28 crash that killed a pilot and two passengers on a commercial tour in the Alaska Range. The passengers in that crash also were from South Carolina.

Headmaster Dr. Leonard Kupersmith of Christ Church Episcopal School in Greenville released a statement Tuesday morning about the impact the Alaska plane crash accident is having on their school family:

"The Christ Church Episcopal School community grieves for the loss of two beautiful and loving families. They remain intact and now under God's care. We watched Meghan and Connor McManus grow up at our school. They embodied the best values: kind and compassionate friends, hard working students, and respectful school citizens. They were humble, honest, and cheerful young people whose hearts and minds were vigorous. Stacey and Chris did whatever they could to support our faculty and staff and our students. Chris manned basketball concessions with dexterity and a smile, Stacey was a key member of our Parents Organization. We cherish our years of warm memories of a loving, giving family. We extend our deepest sympathy to the bereaved relatives and friends of the McManus and Antonakas families."

Alaskan Plane Crash Claims Lives Of Upstate Residents - July 8, 2013 

Nine victims in a fatal plane crash in Alaska over the weekend are from the Upstate, according to sources.

The wife of House Majority Leader Bruce Bannister (R-Greenville) tells 7 On Your Side two Greenville families were killed in the crash that happened at the Soldonta airport on Sunday.

Mary Margaret Bannister says the Antonakos family and the McManus family, who frequently traveled together, were the victims.

Milton Antonakos, his wife Kimberly, and their three children, Mills, Anna, and Olivia, were killed when the plane went down.  Stacey and Dr. Chris McManus and their two children were also killed, according to Bannister.

Antonakos, who also went by Malet, and grew up in Anderson. Rob Powell was a friend of Antonakos and belonged to the same church growing up.

"It's just a real shock especially the aspect that this is a full family and to have their lives taken just like that. Nine people from a community like Greenville," Powell said.

Several people visited the Antonakos home Monday night to say a prayer and sign a book to say goodbye.

"You bring his name up and people would say what a nice guy. I think that anybody who heard about this today who knew Malet, Kim and the whole family will say gosh it's really what you think of as an all-American family."

McManus was one of the lead interventional radiologists with the Greenville Health System. Greenville Health System released a statement concerning the loss of the McManus family.

"We're deeply saddened to hear of the deaths of Dr. Chris McManus and his family," said C. David Williams III, MD, Chair of the Department of Radiology for the Greenville Health System. 

"I've had the pleasure of knowing Chris for nearly 15 years, and he has been a wonderful asset to the medical community," said C. David Williams III, MD, Chairman of the Department of Radiology for the Greenville Health System. "He was an extraordinary physician but also an extraordinary human being who was known to be both compassionate and conscientious. Chris was one of our lead Interventional Radiologists, who brought a number of new and innovative diagnostic and therapeutic tools to the community."

The pilot, Walter Rediske, of Nikiski, Alaska also died in the crash involving the de Havilland DHC3 Otter.  Soldotna police say the plane was operated by Rediske Air.

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating. NTSB investigator Clint Johnson says weather does not appear to be a factor in the crash.

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