Two Float Planes Crash During Alaska Cruise Shore Excursion

by Daniel McCarthy
Two Float Planes Crash During Alaska Cruise Shore Excursion

One of the float planes was on its way back from a Misty Fjords tour when the collision happened. Photo:

At least four people were killed and another 10 were hospitalized near Ketchikan, Alaska, yesterday after two float planes carrying passengers from Princess Cruises’ Royal Princess ship crashed in midair.

The planes were on sightseeing tours, with one returning from a Misty Fjords tour, when they collided, according to Princess Cruises.

One of the planes, a de Havilland Otter DHC-3, was operated by Taquan Air and booked through Princess. The other plane, a de Havilland DHC-2 Beaver, was an independent tour. Nine of the ten passengers and the pilot on the Taquan Air flight were rescued and taken to PeaceHealth Ketchikan Medical Center with injuries.

According to ABC news, three of those are now in serious condition and seven are in fair condition. The last passenger on the Taquan Air flight had been located overnight by the Coast Guard and steps are being taken to notify the family.

Two guests and the pilot on the independent tour were killed and rescue efforts are now underway for the other two guests, one Australian and one Canadian.

“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 traveling companions of the guests involved. We immediately activated our Princess Care Team employees in the region and sent additional team members to Ketchikan overnight to assist the families impacted,” Brian O’Connor, a spokesman for Princess Cruises, said in a statement.

The cause of the collision is not yet known — the Coast Guard said it was “currently unaware of the circumstances of why the aircrafts went down” — but the National Transportation Safety Board has sent a team to investigate what happened.

The ship was sailing a seven-day “Voyage of the Glaciers” itinerary, leaving from Vancouver on May 11. The ship left Ketchikan three-and-a-half hours later because of the incident. It is now  scheduled to arrive in Juneau at 11:30 local time.

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