Cruise Passengers Killed As Planes Collide In Mid-Air

Clay Curtis
May 16, 2019

Following a deadly float plane crash on Monday afternoon that left six people dead, passengers on-board the Royal Princess Cruise ship are dealing with grief as the boat continues on its scheduled route.

Authorities say families of the victims have been notified, as have the Canadian and Australian Consulates.

The smaller plane was partially submerged in the shore of George Inlet after the single-engine plane overturned and hit some trees before crashing, according to Coast Guard Lt. Brian Dykens.

'We are extending our full support to the investigating authorities as well as the traveling companions of the guests involved, ' the company said in a statement. Global Affairs Canada expressed condolences but did not identify the person because of privacy reasons.

The majority of them being cruise ship passengers from the Royal Princess which was docked in Ketchikan for the day on Monday, May 13.

"We have been in regular contact with the family members throughout our search efforts", US Coast Guard Captain Stephen White said.

Eleven people were inside Taquan's single-engine de Havilland Otter DHC-3 when it went down as it returned from Misty Fjords National Monument, which is part of the Tongass National Forest, the nation's largest.

Three of those found dead were aboard the Beaver plane.

At least three people have died after two sightseeing planes crashed in mid-air in Alaska.

"We are devastated by today's incident and our hearts go out to our passengers and their families", Taquan Air said.

The 10 people were in fair or good condition when they arrived at hospital, said Marty West, a spokeswoman for PeaceHealth Ketchikan Medical Center.

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Ten people were rescued and are receiving medical care.

The Beaver appears to have broken apart in midair, according to Jerry Kiffer, duty incident commander of the Ketchikan Volunteer Rescue Squad.

The federal investigation into the cause of the crash could take months, but a preliminary report is expected to be released within two weeks, said Peter Knudson, a spokesman for the NTSB.

It's not known how the planes collided.

America's National Transportation Safety Board has launched a search operation involving aircraft and multiple sea vessels.

The Coast Guard had a cutter onsite and planned to work overnight to find the missing. The Beaver had been flying at a 3,300-foot altitude. The other one was by an independent carrier.

Steve McCaughey, executive director of the Florida-based Seaplane Pilots Association, said the two types of planes involved are popular and flown all over Alaska and the world.

At the time of this collision, the National Weather Service says there was 16 kilometres of visibility and it was partly cloudy with 14 km/h southeast winds.

McCaughey said most commercial planes, especially those in high-traffic environments, already have this equipment.

- With files from The Associated Press.

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