Sightseeing Planes Collide In Alaska, At Least 3 Killed, 3 Injured

Emergency responders carry an injured float plane passenger to an ambulance in Ketchikan, Alaska.

Emergency responders carry an injured float plane passenger to an ambulance in Ketchikan, Alaska.

Photo: Dustin Safranek / Ketchikan Daily News
Photo: Dustin Safranek / Ketchikan Daily News Image 1 of / 1

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Emergency responders carry an injured float plane passenger to an ambulance in Ketchikan, Alaska.

Emergency responders carry an injured float plane passenger to an ambulance in Ketchikan, Alaska.

Photo: Dustin Safranek / Ketchikan Daily News Sightseeing planes collide in Alaska; at least 4 killed, 2 missing 1  /  1 Back to Gallery

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Four people were killed when two sightseeing airplanes carrying cruise ship tourists collided in midair Monday near a southeastern Alaska town, the Coast Guard said.

Two others remained missing after the collision near Ketchikan, Coast Guard Lt. Brian Dykens said.

The floatplanes collided under unknown circumstances, Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Allen Kenitzer said in an email. The planes have pontoons mounted under the fuselage so they can land on water.

Eleven people were inside Taquan Air’s single-engine de Havilland Otter DHC-3 when it went down. Ten were taken to a Ketchikan hospital.

All patients were in fair or good condition, according to Marty West, a spokeswoman for PeaceHealth Ketchikan Medical Center.

The passengers from the cruise ship Royal Princess were on sightseeing flights, one of which was operated by Taquan Air. A spokeswoman for the company said Taquan has suspended operations while federal authorities investigate the deadly crash.

“We are devastated by today’s incident and our hearts go out to our passengers and their families,” Taquan said in a statement. “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.”

At least three of the dead were among five people aboard the second plane, a single-engine de Havilland DHC-2 Beaver, according to Dykens.

Cindy Cicchetti, a passenger on the Royal Princess cruise ship said the ship captain announced that two planes were involved in an accident.

The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating.

Rachel D’Oro and Mark Thiessen is an Associated Press writer.

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