Utah man among six killed in plane collision in Alaska

Sergio Conner
May 16, 2019

Rescue teams were searching the waters of southeast Alaska for two passengers missing after a pair of sightseeing planes crashed in midair, killing at least four people, the U.S. Coast Guard said on Tuesday.

Ten people have been admitted to PeaceHealth Ketchikan Medical Center, a spokeswoman with the hospital, Mischa Chernick, told the Anchorage Daily News.

The Coast Guard recovered one body from the aircraft.

The two planes carried a total of 14 passengers from the Royal Princess ship when the collision occurred Monday near Ketchikan, a popular tourist spot on southern Alaskan cruise routes surrounded by fjords and dense forests.

Emergency response crews transport an injured passenger to an ambulance at the George Inlet Lodge docks, Monday, May 13, 2019, in Ketchikan, Alaska. Floatplanes have pontoons mounted under the fuselage so they can land on water.

One of the planes was a single-engine de Havilland Otter operated by Taquan Air and was returning from a wilderness tour sold through Princess Cruises of the Misty Fjords, the company said. Ten were taken to a Ketchikan hospital.

Three of the four who died were among the five people aboard the Beaver, according to Coast Guard Lt. Brian Dykens.

Neither of the single-engine planes was under air traffic control when they collided, Kenitzer said. The plane with 11 on board was operated by Taquan Air.

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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.

The passenger was from one of two float planes reported down in George Inlet early Monday.

"Our community is heartbroken over this tragedy and its devastating impact on so many families", Ketchikan Gateway Borough Mayor David Landis said in the news release. "At this time, we are in the midst of an active crisis response, and our focus is on assisting these passengers, the pilot, our staff, their families and loved ones, and first responders", Taquan Air said in a statement.

"The Captain came on and said there had been an accident", said cruise ship passenger, Diron Holt. Princess Cruise line is offering grief counselors on the ship.

The Voyage of the Glaciers cruise was a seven-day trip that departed Vancouver on May 11 and is scheduled to arrive in Anchorage on May 18.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with those who lost their lives and the families of those impacted by today's accident".

Princess Cruises said in a statement that it is extending its support to travelling companions of people in the crash.

The weather in the area at the time of the incident was partly sunny with winds at 9 miles per hour, according to the National Weather Service.

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