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THE CRASH OF FLIGHT 261; For Airline, Loss Feels Like Deaths in Family
[Home Edition]
Los Angeles Times - Los Angeles, Calif.
Subjects: Fatalities; Aircraft accidents & safety; Grief
Author: Holmes, Stanley||||||Leeds, Jeff
Date: Feb 2, 2000
Start Page: A.23
Section: PART- A; PART-; Metro Desk
Abstract (Document Summary)

Seven Alaska and Horizon Air employees, as well as 25 family members and friends, had flown standby from Puerto Vallarta, after taking advantage of employee-discounted plane tickets to spend a long weekend at the Mexican resort. During the slower times of the year, it is not uncommon for a flight to have a large number of airline employees filling otherwise empty seats, company officials said.

There was Sarah Pearson, a Seattle-based flight attendant. She was traveling with her husband, Rodney, daughter Rachel and their infant. On the same flight, Ileana Ost, a customer service agent based in San Francisco, was sitting with her husband, Bob, and their baby. Portland, Ore.-based flight attendant James J. Ryan was traveling with his parents and brother.

The airline's last fatal accident occurred in 1976, when one person died after a Boeing 727 overran a runway in Ketchikan, Alaska. In 1971, 111 people died when an Alaska Airlines 727 smashed into a mountain on approach to Juneau, Alaska.

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