A midair crash between
two flightseeing planes carrying cruise passengers in Alaska has resulted in six fatalities.
A statement from Princess Cruises said that the crash, which
occurred at 1:08 p.m. Alaska time on Monday, was between two small floatplanes
and involved passengers from the Royal Princess ship during a call in
One, operated by Taquan Air, was operating a Misty Fjords
shore excursion sold through Princess and was carrying 10 passengers, plus a
pilot. The other was operating an independent tour carrying four passengers
from the Royal Princess, plus a pilot.
One person from the Taquan plane and all five from the
independent-tour plane were killed, Princess said. The line said in a statement May 15 that authorities recovered the final two passengers from the independent air tour operator; the U.S. Coast Guard, several agencies and Good Samaritans had been conducting a search operation.
people were rescued and are receiving medical care, the Coast Guard said.
"With the loss of life in this case, we know that the
impact to Alaska is immense, and our thoughts are with the community here,"
said Capt. Stephen White, Coast Guard Sector Juneau commander.
The National Transportation Safety Board will investigate
the cause of the incident, the Coast Guard said. An Associated Press report
said the FAA will also be involved in the investigation.
The Royal Princess is operating a seven-day cruise from
Vancouver to Anchorage. The ship departed Ketchikan about three-and-a-half
hours late and will arrive in Juneau at about 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, Princess
Princess said it activated its Princess Care Team employees
in the area and sent additional members to Ketchikan to assist the families
onboard the ship.
"All of us at Princess Cruises are deeply saddened by
this tragic news, and we are extending our full support to the investigating
authorities as well as the traveling companions of the guests involved,"
said Brian O'Connor, a Princess spokesman.
There is a history of tourist plane crashes in the Ketchikan area. In 2015, a turboprop operated by Promech Air crashed in
Misty Fjord, killing eight Holland America Line passengers and the pilot.
In 2007, two fatal small-plane crashes occurred within a
month of each other near Ketchikan: a Taquan crash during a Misty Fjords tour
that killed four Princess Cruises passengers and a pilot, and a Seawind
Aviation plane that collided with terrain during a bear-viewing excursion; five
Holland America Line guests died, and the pilot and three passengers
This report was updated May 15 with the confirmed number of fatalities; six have died in the crash.
This report was updated on May 14 with information about previous small-plane crashes in the Ketchikan area.