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Relatives of Alaska Airlines Flt. 261 passengers mark 20th anniversary of plane crash

Flt 261 memorial boat ride
Ron Matthews

VENTURA COUNTY, Calif. - The 20th anniversary of the Alaska Airlines Flight 261 crash off the Ventura County coast is being marked by a number of special events for the families of the victims.

Relatives of the 88 victims took a chartered boat to Anacapa Island on Thursday.

The plane went down by the Island in the afternoon on Jan. 31, 2000.

Investigators blamed a faulty jack screw that needed maintenance.

The plane was traveling from Puerto Vallarta to Seattle.

Some past and current Alaska Airlines officials and police chaplains went on the boat ride with the family members.

Chaplain Ron Matthews met the families in 2000 and has never missed an anniversary.

Matthews led them in a moment of silence and said prayer is a common thread when tragedy occurs.

"We can't change the past, but we can move forward each day. I know that is a challenge at times," said Matthews.

The crash led to safety measures that have prevented similar accidents.

A public ceremony will take place on Friday afternoon at the memorial sundial made by the late Santa Barbara sculptor Bud Bottoms. Bottoms also created the dolphin fountain at Stearns wharf and another sculpure in Puerto Vallarta.

The sundial is located next to the Port Hueneme pier.

Families will clean the sundial before public ceremony will begin at 3 p.m.and go until the sun sets.

Community / Events / Lifestyle / Travel

Tracy Lehr

Tracy Lehr is a reporter and the weekend anchor of KCOY|KEYT|KKFX.