Plane crash in Ketchikan cruise excursions

Sad news from Alaska. 5 dead and one still missing from mid-air crash carrying Princess passengers.

https://www.ktuu.com/content/news/Authorities-working-to-rescue-victims-of-two-float-plane-crashes-near-Ketchikan-509872001.html

13 Answers

OMG...how sad...did they collide or not...confusing reporting...the ship continued on? am I missing something?...I can remember sitting topside one afternoon watching those planes zooming around...folks obviously travel by plane (float or not) all over Alaska...almost like folks take taxis in the lower 48.

Blasts from the not so long ago past-----

The NTSB written report on this accident was published: https://www.ntsb.gov/investigations/AccidentReports/Reports/AAR1702.pdf Excerpts:

"4.1 New Safety Recommendations
To the Federal Aviation Administration:--------

"Analyze automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast data from Ketchikan air tour operations on an ongoing basis and meet annually with Ketchikan air tour operators to engage in a nonpunitive discussion of any operational hazards reflected in the data and collaborate on mitigation strategies for any hazards identified. (A-17-42)

Develop and implement special operating rules for the Ketchikan air tour industry that include en route visual flight rules weather minimums that are tailored to the industry’s unique requirements and are more conservative than those specified in 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 135. (A-17-43)----

To Cruise Lines International Association:

Encourage your members that sell air tours as shore excursions to review the circumstances of this accident and to consider ways to mitigate associated risks. (A-17-44)"

"Board Member Statement
Member Christopher A. Hart filed the following concurring statement on May 1, 2017:------

"Nonetheless, by analogy here, the big picture would suggest that two other participants that are involved in this situation – the cruise ship operators and the Medallion Foundation – should work with the carriers in an effort to create a sightseeing program that eliminates financial incentives to carriers to take more risk. The cruise ship operators make the flight services available to the passengers, and the Medallion Foundation was created to help improve the safety of the carriers in Alaska, so they, in addition to the carriers, have a vested interest improving the safety of the sightseeing carriers by eliminating these adverse incentives.


Time Pressure. Another issue in this accident was the time pressure that was created by the agreement between the cruise ship operator and the sightseeing carrier that if the carrier returned passengers too late to catch the ship, the carrier would be responsible, at its expense, for timely delivery of the passengers to the cruise ship’s next port of call, which might be several hundred miles away. In this accident the pressure to return the passengers to the ship in time clearly played a key role in the pilot’s decision to take a shorter but obviously more dangerous route back to the ship.

As with the adverse safety incentives, the cruise ship operators and the Medallion Foundation should work with the carriers to develop agreements that eliminate this time pressure because they all have a vested interest in improving safety. The program would need to be more comprehensive than simply enlarging the time window because the problem, although it might be less frequent, could still occur."

Acting Chairman Sumwalt and Members Weener and Dinh-Zarr joined in this statement.

Sad news indeed to hear.

Reminds me of that hot air balloon tragedy in Egypt some years ago.

Very sad to hear. Prayers to all of those in need of comfort after this tragedy.

Very Sad! My thoughts and prayers go out to all involved.

Yes, sure is sad. Looks like five gone and one missing and presumed dead. We sure didn't need this. All five in the Beaver perished and one in the Otter, maybe. Reports are that there were 11,000 guest from cruise ships in port there.

Have a friend who spots salmon from the air during the commercial season at Ketchikan, he says there is an enormous amount of air traffic all over the place when visitation is at its peak. A friend of his who was out flying down there yesterday but didn't know about the mid-air was on the phone with him and said that something is up, as suddenly all sorts of rescue type activity heading up George Inlet.

My guess is that the two aircraft collided when circling around something in the water, like whales etc. There has been more than one accident where the pilot wasn't paying attention to flying as much as he was something on the ground. The most noted was an United Airline Douglas DC-6 and a TWA Lockheed Constellation over the Grand Canyon in 1956, both circling to give the passengers a good look at the Canyon. All perished. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1956_Grand_Canyon_mid-air_collision

I guess there are two missing still. Both from the Beaver. They found the missing passenger from the Otter last night, in the sunken fuselage. The Beaver got the worst of it and came apart in the air. The Otter managed to limp onto the water close to shore. The passengers had to swim a bit.

The bodies of the two missing passengers have been found.Nervous

On other forums and news articles comments, some question safety records, but it is difficult to compare aircraft accident records unless size and volume are taken into consideration. For instance----Taquan Air Service was Incorporated in August 1977 by 1997 the company appeared on the cover of Alaska Business Monthly. At that point they were flying to 30 destinations, they had hubs in both Ketchikan and Sitka, and were flying to B.C. they had become an international air carrier. Taquan was then the largest floatplane company in the world, and the second largest commuter airline in Alaska, having boarded 243,000 people in 1997.

I previously mentioned that both pilots could have been distracted by something on the ground. Doesn't look like that now since both aircraft were apparently returning after sightseeing at relatively high altitudes. The board no doubt is going to pay particular attention to why or why not the two pilots were not communicating their locations and intentions over the Common Traffic Advisory frequency established for this area. This would have been important as both aircraft were leaving high altitudes in the Misty Fiords Monument of the Tongass National Forest en-route back to their sea level bases near Ketchikan on Revillagigedo Island.

In addition, the NTSB is interested in "transponders" on the accident aircraft probably because of this---"The Airborne Collision Avoidance System II (ACAS II) was introduced in order to reduce the risk of mid-air collisions between aircraft. It serves as a last-resort safety net irrespective of any separation standards. "ACAS II is an aircraft system based on (SSR) transponder signals. ACAS II interrogates the Mode C and Mode S transponders of nearby aircraft (‘intruders’) and from the replies tracks their altitude and range and issues alerts to the pilots, as appropriate. ACAS II will not detect non-transponder-equipped aircraft and will not issue any resolution advice for traffic without altitude reporting transponder."

I am just glad my DH is no longer in the “aircraft accident investigation” business! He hasn’t ever been able to tell me everything about some of the ones he has done, but enough to know he is often “haunted” by some of them.

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