5 dead after midair collision in Alaska


A 37-year-old Richmond woman has been identified as one of the six people killed when two float planes crashed into each other near Ketchikan on Monday, according to Alaska State Troopers. The cruise line says four passengers and a pilot were killed in the crash over George Inlet near Ketchikan, the Anchorage Daily News reports.

A Royal Princess passenger reported on the Cruise Critic forum that the captain of the ship sent a letter to passengers with information about the crash early Tuesday.

"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", company spokesman Brian O'Connor said in a statement.

The Royal Princess departed Vancouver last Saturday, and was scheduled to arrive in Anchorage, AK on Saturday May 18.

U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer Jon-Paul Rios said that one passenger from the larger plane was still missing, according to the Associated Press (AP).

Emergency response crews transport an injured passenger to an ambulance at the George Inlet Lodge docks, May 13, 2019, in Ketchikan, Alaska.

The Beaver had 5 people aboard, and the Otter had 11 people aboard, the FAA said.

After the crash, the 10 injured people were initially taken to a hospital in Ketchikan.

The U.S. Coast Guard and search and rescue volunteers had been searching for the two missing people for over 12 hours and as recently as Tuesday evening, still held out hope they would find them alive. She said the ship is not leaving as scheduled and there weren't any details as to how the accident will affect the rest of the trip.

The US Federal Aviation Administration said it was not known what caused the planes to collide in mid-air near Ketchikan in southeast Alaska.

"We are devastated by this news and our hearts go out to our passengers and their families". "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".

The second, smaller plane-a de Havilland Beaver-was carrying four cruise guests and a pilot, on an independent tour.

"With the loss of life in this case, we know that the impact to Alaska is enormous", said Capt. Stephen White, the USCG Sector Juneau commander.

The dead included four Americans, one Australian and a Canadian, Princess Cruises said Wednesday.

The Washington, D.C. -based investigative team from the National Transportation Safety Board was expected to arrive in Ketchikan Tuesday afternoon.

The NTSB later determined that pilot error and lack of a formal safety programme were behind the crash.