Five people are reported dead and one other missing following a mid-air collision of two aircraft carrying sight-seers near Ketchikan on Monday.
Ten of 11 persons aboard a de Havilland Otter DHC-3 were transported to the Ketchikan hospital after that aircraft and a single-engine de Havilland DHC-2 Beaver impacted over George Inlet after a viewing trip to the Misty Fiords National Monument. All five, the pilot and four passengers aboard the single-engine Beaver have been declared deceased.
The fourth deceased victim was retrieved on Monday night, and the fifth on Tuesday. One remains missing from the Otter aircraft.
The flight-seeing passengers were on the airborne excursion from the cruise ship Royal Princess, which had departed Vancouver, BC on May 11th and due to arrive in Anchorage on Saturday. The sailing has now been delayed and it is unclear how the incident will affect the remainder of the trip.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with those who lost their lives and the families of those impacted by today’s accident. Princess Cruises is extending its full support to traveling companions of the guests involved,” Princess Cruises said in a statement.
A Go-Team from the National Transportation Safety Board is due to arrive at the scene on Tuesday.
The circumstances of the mid-air collision has yet to be determined.
“We are devastated by today’s incident and our hearts go out to our passengers and their families,” Taquan said in a statement.
The U.S. Forest Service, Alaska Department of Fish and Game, Ketchikan Fire Department, Ketchikan Volunteer Rescue Squad, Alaska State Troopers and TEMSCO Aviation assisted in the search operation coordinated by the Coast Guard.
The Coast Guard brought in the cutter Bailey Barco, a Sitka-based MH-60 Jayhawk, and a HC-130 from Airstation Kodiak as well as two 45-foot Response Boat mediums from Ketchikan.
The ten surviving passengers are reported to be in fair to good condition at the Ketchikan hospital.