At least 4 people are dead and 10 others injured after two floatplanes collided in midair near the southeast Alaska town of Ketchikan.
Two floatplanes (a de Havilland Canada DHC-3T Vazar Turbine Otter and a de Havilland Canada DHC-2 Beaver) with eleven (DHC-3) and five occupants (DHC-2) onboard on an independent tour (DHC-2), have been involved in a mid-air collision over Coon Cove near the George Inlet area, about 8nm from Ketchikan, Alaska.
The total fate of the occupants: four killed, ten rescued (one in critical condition, three in serious and six in fair condition) and two are missing.
The department of foreign affairs is urgently investigating whether any Australians have been killed in a mid-air collision between two sea planes in Alaska. @DamoNews #9News pic.twitter.com/kA1GgMZmER
— Nine News Australia (@9NewsAUS) May 14, 2019
The passengers on both planes were from the Royal Princess cruise ship, which is on a seven-day cruise.
The crash took place around 1 p.m. (5 p.m. ET) when a small floatplane — an aircraft with pontoons or floats that allow it to land on water — operated by Taquan Air was flying a shore excursion. The flight, sold through Princess Cruises, was returning from a tour of Alaska’s Misty Fjords and was carrying 10 passengers and a pilot. The second plane involved was carrying four passengers on an independent tour
Taquan Air, a regional airline based in Ketchikan, released a statement saying it was “in the midst of 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 has suspended all scheduled flights and is cooperating fully with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and other authorities to examine every aspect of this event,” the Taquan Air statement read.
The NTSB tweeted Monday night that it was launching a “go team” to investigate the collision
NTSB launching Go Team to investigate midair collision involving a DHC-2 and a DHC-3T about 10 miles northeast of Ketchikan, Alaska at about 1 pm ADT today. Media availability will be at Hangar 6 at DCA airport at 8:00 am EDT Tuesday morning, just before team departs.
— NTSB_Newsroom (@NTSB_Newsroom) May 14, 2019
In a statement released early Tuesday, U.S. Coast Guard officials said four people were confirmed dead after the crash, down from the five reported dead Monday by cruise line officials. Marty West, a spokeswoman for PeaceHealth Ketchickan Medical Center, told The Associated Press all 10 injured passengers taken to the hospital were in fair or good condition by Tuesday morning.
It was not immediately clear why the planes collided. Weather conditions in the area the 13 was included high overcast skies with 9 mph southeast winds.
both aircrafts are submerged in water.
The Royal Princess cruise ship is scheduled to arrive in Anchorage on Saturday, the news release said. Part of the voyage, the company’s website said, included “scenic glacier viewing” with stops at Juneau, Ketchikan and Skagway.