A group of Villagers was aboard a sight-seeing plane that collided with another plane Monday in Alaska.
The crash left six people dead, none of them from The Villages. Five of the dead were passengers and the sixth was a pilot.
Village of Pennecamp residents Kim Castro and Stacie Horton and Village of Santo Domingo residents Clifton and Brenda Seliga were aboard a de Havilland Otter DHC-3 that was carrying a total of 10 passengers and the pilot. A friend, 62-year-old Cassandra Webb, of St. Louis, was traveling with the Villagers and she died in the crash. Other family members from The Villagers were traveling with the group, but Villages-News.com has not yet confirmed their identities.
Their plane collided at about 3,300 feet with a smaller de Havilland DHC-2 Beaver, which was carrying four passengers and the pilot.
The planes came down about a mile and a half apart, with some of the debris falling on land near George Inlet, which is about 8 miles from the cruise ship port of Ketchikan. The Villagers and Webb had been traveling on the cruise ship the Royal Princess.
Mark Castro, Kim Castro’s brother, said his sister was the “real hero of the story.”
Kim, one by one, was able to swim her family members to safety.
“Even though she was injured, she was able to get these guys to shore since their injuries made swimming impossible,” Mark Castro said.
Local news reports described the water where the crash occurred as “frigid,” raising concerns about hypothermia. The Coast Guard said volunteers sprang into action, getting into their own boats to rescue victims.