5 Dead and 10 Injured After 2 Floatplanes Carrying Cruise Ship Passengers Collide in Alaska
At least five people have tragically died after two floatplanes crashed off the coast of southeastern Alaska on Monday afternoon.
The incident took place just after 1 p.m. in the George Inlet area near Ketchikan and involved a small floatplane, carrying 10 guests and a pilot from the cruise ship Royal Princess, Princess Cruises spokeswoman Alivia Owyoung tells PEOPLE.
The flight was returning from a Misty Fjords tour.
The second plane was occupied by four guests, from the Royal Princess, and a pilot, Owyoung says. The plane was embarking on an independent tour.
At this time, the U.S. Coast Guard and local search and rescue teams have “confirmed that nine of the guests have been rescued and are currently receiving medical attention with the condition of one guest still unknown,” Owyoung says.
Owyoung confirms that a pilot is among the five people dead.
A total of 16 people were on the two planes. The fate of the one other individual is unclear.
“We are deeply saddened by to report this news and our thoughts and prayers are with those who lost their lives and the families of those impacted by today’s accident,” Owyoung said. “Princess Cruises is extending its full support to traveling companions of the guests involved.”
It is believed that the planes — a de Havilland DHC-2 Beaver (carrying four guests) and a de Havilland Otter DHC-3 (carrying 10 guests) — collided in mid-air, according to the Federal Aviation Administration, Anchorage Daily News reported.
“The assumption is they had a mid-air collision,” incident commander Chris John with the Ketchikan Volunteer Rescue Squad told the outlet.
Is it not immediately clear as to what led to the collision.
The beaver then crashed on a rocky shoreline, John told the outlet.
The plane landed upside down, submerged in the water, according to the Anchorage Daily News.
The weather in the area at the time of the incident was partly sunny with winds at 9 miles per hour, according to the National Weather Service.
The names of the victims have not yet been released.
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