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5 Killed in Mid-Air Crash of Alaska Sightseeing Planes

Both floatplanes carried cruise ship passengers
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 14, 2019 3:13 AM CDT
Emergency response crews transport an injured passenger to an ambulance at the George Inlet Lodge docks, Monday, May 13, 2019, in Ketchikan, Alaska.   (Dustin Safranek/Ketchikan Daily News via AP)

(Newser) – Two floatplanes carrying cruise ship passengers collided in mid-air in Alaska on Monday, killing at least five people, Princess Cruises says. The cruise line says four passengers and a pilot were killed in the crash over George Inlet near Ketchikan, the Anchorage Daily News reports. The Federal Administration Aviation says a de Havilland DHC-2 Beaver and a de Havilland Otter DHC-3, carrying a total of 14 passengers, collided under unknown circumstances. All the passengers were guests on the Royal Princess, which was on a seven-day glacier tour, the cruise line says. The Coast Guard says 10 people were rescued after small boats and a helicopter were dispatched to the crash site.

Jerry Kiffer of the Ketchikan Volunteer Rescue Squad tells KRBD that both planes were in the water when rescuers arrived. "Both of them were near shore: One on one side of George Inlet, one on the other side," he says. Authorities say 10 crash survivors were hospitalized in good to fair condition. Taquan Air says it operated the Otter, which was returning from a tour of Misty Fjords National Monument with 11 people on board. "We are devastated by today's incident and our hearts go out to our passengers and their families," the airline said in a statement. The AP reports that a National Transportation Safety Board "Go team" is on its way to Ketchikan to investigate the crash. (Last year, everybody survived a Taquan Air crash into a mountain in the area.)

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