World Media

Deadly seaplane collision in Ketchikan Alaska

Cruise ship passengers on downed planes

A team of federal airplane accident investigators was expected to arrive in Alaska on Tuesday to investigate the cause of a midair collision between two sightseeing planes that killed at least four people. There were 11 people in one plane and five in the other.

In response to inquiries about the crash, Canadian officials say one of those killed was a Canadian citizen, and that consular authorities were assisting the family.

Four cruise goers and one pilot are dead after the accident, Royal Princess Cruises confirmed Monday.

Emergency rescue operations were under way after the two aircraft carrying 14 passengers from the Royal Princess ship crashed near Ketchikan, a popular tourist spot on southern Alaskan cruise routes surrounded by fjords and dense forests.

Cindy Cicchetti, a passenger aboard the Royal Princess, told AP the ship captain announced that two planes were in an accident Monday.

The department says the name or hometown of the victim is not being released for privacy reasons.

Although the two planes went down at roughly the same time in the same general vicinity, it was not immediately clear whether they were involved in a single crash.

It is believed that the planes - a de Havilland DHC-2 Beaver (carrying four guests) and a de Havilland Otter DHC-3 (carrying 10 guests) - collided in mid-air, according to the Federal Aviation Administration, Anchorage Daily News reported.

Petty Officer Jon-Paul Rios, a coast guard spokesman, said 10 survived and were being treated in a Ketchikan hospital.

The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board were investigating.

Both of the planes were carrying passengers from a cruise ship that left from Vancouver over the weekend.

Broadcaster NBC, cruise operator Princess Cruises, said early on Tuesday that a fifth person had died and one remained missing.

Princess Cruises, a California-based cruise ship company, said the Canadian was among the two missing guests along with an Australian, and the coast guard was continuing to search.

"We are devastated by today's incident and our hearts go out to our passengers and their families", it said in a statement issued Monday.

The company also confirmed that the three victims recovered from the crashed Beaver, including the pilot, were USA citizens, as were all the passengers aboard the Taquan Air flight.

Ten people were rescued and were receiving medical care.

The weather in the area at the time of the incident was partly sunny with winds at 9 miles per hour, according to the National Weather Service.