3 dead, 3 missing after small tour planes collide in Alaska

Clay Curtis
May 14, 2019

Five people are dead and one is still missing after a collision between two float planes with 16 combined people onboard, according to a cruise line whose passengers are among those killed.

The Ketchikan-based operator of the larger plane, Taquan Air, said its pilot and nine passengers had been accounted for, and one passenger remained missing. The Otter was on the other side of the inlet, with 10 people on shore nearby. Ten others have been hospitalized in Ketchikan, one in critical condition.

The floatplanes collided under unknown circumstances, Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Allen Kenitzer said in an email to The Associated Press. "The flight was returning from a Misty Fjords tour and carried ten guests from Royal Princess and a pilot".

Eleven passengers were on a de Havilland Otter DHC-3.

Princess Cruises confirms to CityNews Vancouver both planes were carrying guests from Royal Princess, which is now sailing a seven-day Voyage of the Glaciers cruise that departed Vancouver on Saturday, May 11th for Anchorage.

A file photo of the Royal Princess cruise ship.

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Cicchetti says the ship is not leaving as scheduled and there weren't any details as to how the accident will affect the rest of the trip.

The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) are investigating. Three people are in serious condition, while six others are in fair condition, said Mischa Chernick, a hospital official. All five people on the second plane are also unaccounted for.

Weather conditions in the area on Monday included high overcast skies with 14 kilometres per hour southeast winds. Three people are confirmed deceased.

"We are incredibly distressed by this situation, and our thoughts and prayers are with those on board the planes and their families", the cruise company said.

Coast Guard Sector Juneau Command Center watchstanders launched a Coast Guard Air Station Sitka MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew and two 45-foot Response Boat-Medium crews Monday from Coast Guard Station Ketchikan in response to the incident.

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