Monday, 27 May, 2019

Search continues for two people missing following Alaska float plane crash

5 dead 10 hospitalized after midair collision over Alaska Alaska plane crash: 2 floatplanes in Ketchikan midair collision — 5 dead - Daily Star
Patty Aguilar | 16 May, 2019, 00:09

At least six people have died and one person is missing after two floatplanes collided mid-air while carrying passengers from a cruise ship's sightseeing tour in Alaska.

Emergency response crews transport an injured passenger to an ambulance at the George Inlet Lodge docks, Monday, May 13, 2019, in Ketchikan, Alaska. "Princess Cruises is extending its full support to traveling companions of the guests involved", the company said.

The ship left Canada's Vancouver city on May 11 and was scheduled to arrive in the city of Anchorage in Alaska on Saturday.

The death toll was initially reported as four, with two people missing.

An Otter floatplane with 11 people onboard was returning from a Misty Fjords tour while a second Beaver floatplane carrying five people was on an independent tour.

Ten other people were injured, and have been taken to hospital for treatment.

The discovery of the bodies closes the search at the scene where the two seaplanes crashed after colliding over the inlet waters near Ketchikan, in southeastern Alaska, said Matthew Schofield, a U.S. Coast Guard officer.

"The Captain came on and said there had been an accident", said cruise ship passenger, Diron Holt.

In June 2015, a pilot and eight passengers had died when a de Havilland DHC-3 Otter, operated by Promech Air Inc, crashed into mountainous terrain about 39km from Ketchikan.

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"Our community is heartbroken over this tragedy and its devastating impact on so many families", Ketchikan Gateway Borough Mayor David Landis said in the news release.

"Our focus is on assisting these passengers, the pilot, our staff, their families and loved ones, and first responders."
There were 14 Americans, one Canadian and one Australian on board the two planes, according to the Coast Guard.

One plane, an independently-operated de Havilland DHC-2 Beaver, was carrying a pilot and four guests.

A preliminary report by the ATSB found there were no obvious mechanical defects or fuel contamination on the aircraft, which was up-to-date with maintenance checks and flown by a well-qualified pilot, Canadian-born Gareth Morgan, 44.

At the time of this collision, the National Weather Service says there was 16 kilometres of visibility and it was partly cloudy with 14 km/h southeast winds.

"This is not the outcome we hoped for", said U.S. Coast Guard Capt. Stephen White, offering the searchers' condolences to the families of the dead.

Investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board in Washington DC are expected to arrive in Ketchikan later on Tuesday.

The NTSB team began investigating on Tuesday and is unlikely to determine the cause during the week it will spend at the scene, NTSB board member Jennifer Homendy told a news conference.

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