Cruise Passengers Dead, More in Critical Condition After Alaska Floatplane Accident
Two floatplanes collided mid-air near Ketchikan, Alaska at around 1 pm on Monday, May 13, leaving five people dead, several in serious condition in the hospital, and one unaccounted for.
All 14 passengers from both planes were from Princess Cruises’ Royal Princess, which is on a 7-night voyage that departed Vancouver on May 11, bound for Anchorage. 11 people onboard an Otter floatplane operated by Taquan Air were returning to port from a Princess-sold Misty Fjords excursion, and a Beaver plane carrying five passengers was operating an independent tour. Four of the five people killed were cruise passengers, and one was a pilot.
Ten people were rescued by a passing ship, Saint Innocent. Four people, all in their 60s, are being treated at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle; three in serious condition and one critical. Others are being treated in Ketchikan.
“We are devastated by today's incident and our hearts go out to our passengers and their families," Taquan Air said. "At this time, we are in the midst of an active crisis response, and our focus is on assisting these passengers, the pilot, our staff, their families and loved ones, and first responders.”
The National Transportation Safety Board said they have launched a “go team” to investigate the accident. The Federal Aviation Administration has said that they don’t yet know the cause of the collision.
This isn’t the first crash that Taquan Air has been involved in. In July of last year, 11 people were rescued after one of their planes crashed into a mountainous area on Prince of Wales Island in Alaska. The Associated Press reported that In 2007, the pilot and four sightseers in a Taquan Air floatplane were killed in a crash over the Misty Fjords mountains. The airline said that they have grounded all flights while authorities investigate.