Nine people, eight of whom were passengers on the Holland America Cruise ship Westerdam are dead in a crash of a de Havilland Otter operated by Promech Air in the Ella Lake area troopers report.
A call went in to Ketchikan-based Alaska State Troopers at 2:06 pm on Thursday reporting an overdue aircraft. A Temsco helicopter pilot confirmed that an aircraft was down at about 800 feet above the lake in Misty Fiords against a granite rock face.
The aircraft was flying Holland America ship passengers on a shore excursion flight on Thursday when it went down. The cause of the crash is as yet unknown. Thew National Transportation Safety Board and FAA have been notified and NTSB will be responding to the scene with a high-level team to investigate the crash..
A search and rescue team reached the crash site and confirmed that the pilot and eight passengers were all deceased. Recovery efforts have been hampered by adverse weather and as of Thursday night, the bodies of the passengers have yet to retrieved. Efforts to recover the remains will be resumed on Friday.
“We are incredibly distressed by this situation, and our thoughts and prayers are with those onboard the plane and their families,” the cruise ship statement said. “Holland America Line is extending its full support to traveling companions of the guests involved.”
The Westerdam was on a 7-day round trip Inside Passage cruise. It departed Seattle on June 20th.