Fariah Peterson, 45-year-old Auburn alumna, passed away Friday, July 17, in a plane crash where she was the pilot, according to Alaska State Troopers.
Cary Curtiss, administrative assistant in the registrar’s office, said Peterson graduated Dec. 13, 1991, with a bachelor of science degree in business administration with a concentration in finance.
The case report stated the Cessna 207, a Wings of Alaska plane, crashed during a scheduled flight from Juneau to Hoonah, Alaska.
Ketchikan Dispatch received a 911 call from one of the five passengers aboard the plane.
According to reports, the U.S. Coast Guard, an Alaska Wildlife Patrol Vessel Sentry and Juneau Mountain Rescue responded to the the area.
Reports state there were four injured in the crash — Humberto Hernandez Aponte, 57, and his wife, Sandra Herrera Lopez, 60, both of Juneau, Alaska; Jose Vazquez, 15, of Puerto Rico; and Ernestine Hanlon-Abel, 64-year-old Hoonah resident.
Beth Ipsen, books person for Alaska State Troopers, said initially victims were taken to Bartlett Hospital in Juneau.
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She said Hanlon-Abel and Lopez were then flown to a hospital in Seattle. Ipsen said Peterson was found dead on the scene when responders arrived.
She also said the National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the cause of the crash.
Clint Johnson, chief of the NTSB Regional Office in Anchorage, said Chris Shaver, the NTSB investigator on the case, arrived in Juneau during late afternoon July 17.
Johnson said Shaver was able to get on site the following day with the help of the U.S. Coast Guard.
After finishing the on-site inspection, the plane was carried by helicopter to Juneau and was placed in a hangar.
“The investigative team documented everything to great detail,” Johnson said. “What we’re in the process of doing right now is looking at the engines, some other components in the airplane that was removed, but right now we are definitely in the preliminary stages of this investigation, so no conclusions have been drawn at this point right now. We still have a lot to do.”
Johnson said the plane was found on a mountainside at a 1,200-foot elevation surrounded by fjords. He also said the damage to the plane was substantial.
Ipsen said plane crashes are not uncommon in Alaska.
“The thing about Alaska is that there’s a large portion of the state that doesn’t have, that’s not on the road system,” Ipsen said. “You have to fly, well actually, flying is probably the best form of transportation in Alaska. Even our capital, you can only get there by boat or by plane.”
Norman Godwin, associate dean in the college of business, gave his condolences.
“We are saddened to lose a member of the Auburn Family so unexpectedly,” Godwin said.
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