Four cruise passengers and pilot dead after seaplanes collide

Four cruise passengers and pilot dead after seaplanes collide”

The 10 rescued passengers were being treated at PeaceHealth Ketchikan Medical Center, USA Today reported, and one of those patients was in critical condition.

The California-based company said recovery efforts for the two missing bodies, belonging to the Canadian and an Australian, were ongoing this morning.

U.S. Coast Guard officials, according to CNN, said the passengers on both planes were guests on a Princess Cruise ship that was on a seven-day trip.

The other plane, on an independent sightseeing excursion, was carrying four Royal Princess cruise ship passengers and one pilot.

The U.S. Coast Guard says death toll has risen to six, after sightseeing planes collided in midair near Ketchikan, Alaska, the Associated Press reports.

Ten people were rescued, the Coast Guard said, and the search continued for two people still missing on Tuesday.

Fourteen of them were passengers on the megaship Royal Princess, which was on its inaugural Alaskan cruise that was scheduled to arrive in Anchorage on Saturday, according to a statement from Princess.

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The larger plane, a de Havilland Otter DHC-3 with 10 passengers and its pilot, had descended from 1160 metres and collided with a smaller de Havilland DHC-2 Beaver, which was carrying four passengers and the pilot.

The Otter, operated by Taquan Air, was initially traveling at an altitude of about 3,800 feet (1,158 meters), according to Peter Knudson, a spokesman for the National Transportation Safety Board, whose investigators arrived in Ketchikan Tuesday afternoon.

"We are incredibly distressed by this situation, and our thoughts and prayers are with those onboard the planes and their families", the cruise company said.

"Our community is heartbroken over this tragedy and its devastating impact on so many families", said Ketchikan Gateway Borough Mayor David Landis in the borough's prepared statement.

Weather in the area where the crash happened Monday included high overcast skies with southeast winds gusting at 14 kilometres per hour.

Investigators with the National Transportation Safety Board are still determining the cause of Monday's crash but blamed pilot error and a lack of a formal safety program for the 2015 crash.

It's not the first time a major plane crash has occurred near Ketchikan, a popular tourist destination.

The debris field was about 300 metres wide and 800 metres long, with doors, seats and life-jackets strewn in a way that indicated an aircraft had come apart in the air, Kiffer said.

One aircraft operated by Taquan Air - whose pilot survived - was flying a shore excursion sold through the cruise line.

On Monday, two floatplanes carrying cruise ship tourists collided over Ketchikan, Alaska.

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