A sightseeing plane crashed Thursday in southeast Alaska, killing all six people on board, the US Coast Guard said. The plane's emergency alert beacon was activated around 11:20am when the plane crashed in the area of Misty Fjords National Monument, near Ketchikan, the Coast Guard and Federal Aviation Administration said. A helicopter company reported seeing wreckage on a ridgeline in the search area, and Coast Guard crew members found the wreckage around 2:40pm, the AP reports. A Coast Guard helicopter lowered two rescue swimmers to the site, and they reported no survivors, the agency said. The identities of those killed in the crash were not immediately released. The Alaska State Troopers and volunteers from the Ketchikan Volunteer Rescue Squad will coordinate recovery efforts Thursday and Friday.
The plane involved Thursday, a de Havilland Beaver, was owned by Southeast Aviation LLC. “Our hearts are shattered at the loss of six people today. We are thinking of and grieving with the families of the five passengers and our dear friend and pilot aboard the aircraft,” the company said in a statement. The five passengers on the flight were from the Holland America Line cruise ship Nieuw Amsterdam, the company said in a statement. The ship stopped in Ketchikan on Thursday and delayed its afternoon departure after the plane crash. The company said it was making counseling services available to guests and crew. “The float plane excursion was offered by an independent tour operator and not sold by Holland America Line,” the statement said. Ketchikan is a popular stop for cruise ships visiting Alaska, and cruise ship passengers can take various sightseeing excursions while in port.
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