Published: Thu, May 16, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Floatplanes Crash Off Alaska, 5 Dead, 1 missing, 10 in Hospital

Floatplanes Crash Off Alaska, 5 Dead, 1 missing, 10 in Hospital

Four people are dead after two sightseeing airplanes carrying cruise ship tourists collided in midair near a southeast Alaska town, the US Coast Guard says.

Princess Cruises in its release said two passengers and the pilot were among those killed in this plane.

"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 travelling companions of the guests involved".

The Royal Princess departed Vancouver last Saturday, and was scheduled to arrive in Anchorage, Alaska, on Saturday May 18. Two others were missing, according to Petty Officer Jon-Paul Rios, a Coast Guard spokesman.

1 person dead, 1 missing after float plane crashes near Gold Bridge, B.C.

An Otter floatplane with 11 people onboard was returning from a Misty Fjords tour while a second Beaver floatplane carrying five people was on an independent tour.

The Coast Guard had initially announced the death of four people on Monday, as authorities searched for two others who were missing.

The U.S. Coast Guard rescued 10 people from the crash and are still searching for two others.

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A Richmond, BC woman has been identified as the lone Canadian among five who died following a mid-air collision involving two float planes in Alaska on Monday.

She said the ship was not leaving as scheduled and there weren't any details as to how the accident will affect the rest of the trip.

The survivors were in fair or good condition, said Marty West, a spokeswoman for PeaceHealth Ketchikan Medical Center.

Eleven people were inside Taquan's single-engine de Havilland Otter DHC-3 when it went down as it returned from Misty Fjords National Monument, which is part of the Tongass National Forest, the nation's largest.

"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".

A preliminary report by the ATSB found there were no obvious mechanical defects or fuel contamination on the aircraft, which was up-to-date with maintenance checks and flown by a well-qualified pilot, Canadian-born Gareth Morgan, 44.

AP reported that weather conditions in the area of the crash comprised high overcast skies with 9 miles per hour southeast winds. The 14-member team from the National Transportation Safety Board that began investigating the crash on Tuesday is unlikely to determine the cause during the week the team will be at the scene, NTSB board member Jennifer Homendy told a news conference.

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