The pilot of the private plane that crashed in the Lynn Canal Wednesday shared more information about his wife’s condition and the ordeal they went through. Haines resident Mike Mackowiak gave the information to Presbyterian Church Pastor Ron Horn, who conveyed it to KHNS. Mackowiak wanted to share these details so that people in Haines have accurate information about what is happening.
Mike and Martha Mackowiak were with their teenage son Nik and Victoria Hansen in the plane when it went down, reportedly due to engine failure, in the Lynn Canal near Eldred Rock. Mike told Horn they did not have time to put on flotation devices. The four passengers swam to shore in five foot seas. Mike says, without Nik and Victoria, he and Martha would not have survived.
Mike says all of the passengers suffered from hypothermia. They were treated at Bartlett Regional Hospital and Juneau, and the two juveniles and Mike were released, but Martha’s condition was worse. Mike told Horn that Martha was near drowning, and she was resuscitated. She had severe hypothermia and low core temperatures. She suffered cardiac arrest at Bartlett Hospital, but once her core temperature was raised, her heart started again.
Mike says Martha had swallowed a lot of sea water, and doctors had to operate on her because of the effects that much salt water intake. Friday morning, when Mike talked to Horn, Martha was in surgery again. She is a Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. A Harborview spokesperson said Friday that her condition has improved, from ‘critical’ to ‘serious.’
Horn says Martha did not suffer organ or kidney damage, but the doctors don’t know yet what impact the lack of oxygen she experienced could have had on her brain. Friday morning, she was able to write coherently on a piece of paper. Mike says doctors say Martha is doing much better than expected at this point, but that she’s ‘not out of the woods yet.’
Horn says Mike repeatedly said that God was with them and that’s how they survived. He is hopeful the progress Martha’s health has made will continue. Mike also says he is grateful for all the prayers and support from the community.