A mid-air collision between two aircraft over Southeast Alaska has killed five people.
The accident between a de Havilland DHC-2 Beaver and de Havilland Otter DHC-3 occurred off the coast of Ketchikan on Monday (US time), the United States National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) said on Twitter.
The NTSB said it was sending a team of investigators to the site of the incident.
NTSB launching Go Team to investigate midair collision involving a DHC-2 and a DHC-3T about 10 miles northeast of Ketchikan, Alaska at about 1 pm ADT today. Media availability will be at Hangar 6 at DCA airport at 8:00 am EDT Tuesday morning, just before team departs.
— NTSB_Newsroom (@NTSB_Newsroom) May 14, 2019
The passengers on board were from the Royal Princess cruise ship, the ship’s operator Princess Cruises confirmed to local media.
The five people on board the de Havilland DHC-2 were killed in the accident. There were 11 people on board the de Havilland Otter DHC-3. Media reports said 10 were taken to hospital.
“We are deeply saddened to report this news and our thoughts and prayers are with those who lost their lives and the families of those impacted by today’s accident,” Princess Cruises told local media.
The United States Coast Guard said in a statement it was working with the following agencies on the scene – the US Forest Service, Alaska Department of Fish and Game, Ketchikan Fire Department, Ketchikan Volunteer Rescue Squad, Alaska State Troopers and TEMSCO Aviation.
“In a remote area such as this, given our limited resources, we rely on our partner agencies and appreciate the support that good Samaritans have rendered to this point,” Capt Stephen White, Coast Guard Sector Juneau commander said in a statement.
“With the loss of life in this case, we know that the impact to Alaska is immense and our thoughts are with the community here.”
Taquan Air told USA Today it was suspending all flights as investigators try to work out what happened. The company was operating the de Havilland Otter DHC-3.
“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 company told the newspaper.
Mountain Air Service operated the de Havilland DHC-2 Beaver.
VIDEO: A news report on the mid-air collision from the KING 5 YouTube channel.