FOUR people have been killed and another two are missing after two seaplanes carrying tourists collided in mid-air in Alaska.
The planes were taking passengers back to the cruise ship Royal Princess after a sightseeing trip over the Tongass National Forest.
Yesterday, a team of US federal accident investigators arrived in the south-eastern town of Ketchikan to try to establish the cause of the crash.
Cindy Cicchetti, who is travelling on the cruise ship, told reporters the captain announced that the planes were in an accident on Monday.
She said passengers had been given no details about the future of the trip.
Three of those who died were among five people on board a single-engine de Havilland Beaver, Coast Guard Lt Brian Dykens said.
The second plane, a de Havilland Otter operated by Taquan Air, was carrying 11 people, of whom ten were taken to hospital. It was returning from Misty Fjords National Monument, part of Alaska’s largest forest.
Emergency responders worked with state and federal agencies and volunteer boats to help victims. ‘It’s been a long day and the crews have been working really hard to rescue people and recover the deceased,’ said Deanna Thomas, a spokeswoman for Ketchikan council.
Taquan Air suspended sightseeing trips while authorities investigated the crash. ‘We are devastated by today’s incident and our hearts go out to our passengers and their families,’ the company said in a statement.
The ship left Vancouver, Canada, on May 11 and was scheduled to arrive in Anchorage on Saturday.