Alaska floatplanes collided at 3,300 feet before crashing


Four people died and two are missing following the midair collision of two sightseeing floatplanes carrying Royal Princess passengers near Ketchikan, Alaska, on Monday.

The larger plane, a de Havilland Otter DHC-3 with 10 passengers and the pilot, was returning from Misty Fjords when it collided with a smaller sightseeing plane, a de Havilland DHC-2 Beaver carrying four passengers from the same cruise ship and a pilot.

In a statement to ABC News, Princess Cruise Lines said: "We are incredibly distressed by the situation, and our thoughts and prayers are with those onboard the planes and their families. Princess Cruises is extending its full support to traveling companions of the guests involved", said the company.

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

A Coast Guard helicopter searches for an Australian and a Canadian, who were initially missing.

The Beaver had 5 people aboard, and the Otter had 11 people aboard, the FAA said.

Authorities say the collision occurred at 1:08pm on Monday, local time, in George Inlet some eight nautical miles from the town of Ketchikan, where cruise ships often stop.

US Coast Guard spokesman Jon-Paul Rios said of the 10 hospitalised in Ketchikan, one was in critical condition.

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Two victims of a mid-air floatplane crash in Alaska earlier this week were residents of Richmond, B.C., CTV News has learned. She said the ship is not leaving as scheduled and there weren't any details as to how the accident will affect the rest of the trip.

The planes, featuring pontoons that allow them to land on water, were flying cruise ship passengers on tours of Misty Fjords National Monument in the nearby Tongass National Forest, Princess Cruises said in a statement.

"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", Taquan said in a statement.

Simon Bodie, 56, from Tempe in Sydney's inner-west, was one of six people killed a seaplane crash in Alaska on Monday.

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.

A team of 14 National Transportation Safety Board investigators has been sent to the site and divers will start working on Wednesday to pull up the wreckage of the two planes.

"We have been in regular contact with the family members throughout our search efforts", said Capt. Stephen White, Sector Juneau commander.

USA transport authorities are set to investigate the cause of the crash.