Whitehorse Daily Star

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Photo by Whitehorse Star

CRASH DEVASTATES AIRLINE – A Cessna 208 Caravan is seen at Alkan Air in August 2016. The aircraft that crashed Tuesday in central Yukon is a different model.

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Photo by Photo Submitted

Julia Lane, a Vancouver resident. Photo courtesy FACEBOOK

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Photo by Whitehorse Star

Shawn Kitchen of Whitehorse.

‘It has hit us all very hard,’ Alkan says

Two people were killed Tuesday when an Alkan Air plane crashed in central Yukon.

By Gord Fortin on August 7, 2019

Two people were killed Tuesday when an Alkan Air plane crashed in central Yukon.

According to the airline and the Yukon Coroner’s Service, a Cessna 208 left Rackla, a mining exploration property, at around 11 a.m. heading south toward Mayo, with two people aboard. The plane went missing at around 12:08 p.m.

The pilot was 24-year-old Shawn Thomas Kitchen of Whitehorse.

The passenger was 33-year-old Julia Lane, who was from Vancouver, the coroner said.

A search quickly began after it was realized the aircraft was missing, and it was located at 1:30 p.m. that day. It had crashed on the north side of Mayo Lake, and was spotted during a fly-over of the area.

Alkan is working with emergency responders to gain access to the site of the plane, which is remote and challenging terrain.

“Our hearts go out to everyone that is involved; this is truly a heartbreaking time at Alkan Air,” the company said in a statement.

Wendy Tayler, Alkan’s president and CEO, said Kitchen had been a pilot with the company for more than four years. She said he was deeply respected and loved by his colleagues.

“We are a very tightknit company, and family, and it has hit us all very hard,” Tayler said.

Kitchen was also a popular figure in the Scouting movement in the Yukon.

Lane worked for Archer, Cathro and Associates, a geological consulting firm of which she was a managing partner. The firm was working in the Rackla area.

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada will be assisting with the investigation.

Dean Campbell, a board spokesperson, said the plan is to fly a team up to the Yukon from Edmonton on Thursday morning.

He was not able to provide many more details, as the logistics are still being worked out.

He did say the C208 is located in an isolated location that does not have much road access.

This means, he explained, that it will be difficult to get to, and police will assist the investigators.

The board can commonly take a year or longer to produce a final report on the crashes it investigaes.

The coroner and Mayo RCMP continue to investigate as well.

Premier Sandy Silver said today the Yukon government will be providing support to aid in the investigation and help prevent similar tragedies in the future.

He added that safety is important for everyone who lives and works in the territory.

“My colleagues and I are deeply saddened by the tragic airplane accident near Mayo Lake yesterday that claimed two lives,” Silver said.

“On behalf of all Yukoners, we offer our sincere condolences to the families and friends of the pilot and passenger who were on board, as well as Alkan Air and Yukon’s aviation and mining communities, who have suffered an immeasurable loss as a result of this accident.”

He wanted to remind everyone that mental healing services can be obtained by calling 1-866-456-3838, Yukon’s Mental Wellness and Substance Use Services.

Alkan stated more information will be released when it’s available.

Tuesday’s tragedy was the second double-fatality Yukon plane crash in just over two months.

In late May, Charles Eric Benson, 56, of Palmer, Alaska, and Jeffrey Brian Babcock, 58, of Wasilla, Alaska died when the 1952 Cessna 170B they were flying crashed shortly after takeoff from the Whitehorse airport. The plane was registered in Benson’s name, and had been bought in Minnesota just days earlier.

Comments (5)

Up 4 Down 0

Groucho d'North on Aug 12, 2019 at 1:08 pm

My most sincere sympathies to the staff and management at Alkan Air and to the Kitchen and Lane families for their tragic loss.

Up 24 Down 4

K on Aug 8, 2019 at 8:10 pm

Alkan Air is a very reputable company that has always put passengers first and foremost with impeccable safety and pilot training standards.
I’m sure that every type of airplane they use have been scrutinized for the job they must perform. Assumptions of any sort is unjust and unfair.

My sincere condolences to the family of Shawn and of Julia.
Prayers to the Alkan community.

Up 36 Down 2

Please stop on Aug 8, 2019 at 12:52 pm

Please stop with the comments and conspiracy theories as to why this aircraft went down -- this is not what this article is about. Respect the people who are affected by this crash and loss.

Condolences to all of those affected in the loss of the 2 young lives.

Up 5 Down 36

Lennie on Aug 8, 2019 at 8:49 am

I have many hours flying as a passenger over northern Canada but never in a Cessna Caravan. They are too new. I look at how many have crashed in the past few years and firmly believe my chances are not good in this new aircraft. Yet these air services, including Fed. Govt. continue to use them. At this late stage in my life, I will never fly in one.

Up 12 Down 9

Wes on Aug 8, 2019 at 5:35 am

Tragic.
Alkan runs a taut ship.
Anecdotally, the winds north of Mayo have been incredibly fierce as of late.

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