Five people have been killed and 10 others injured after two sightseeing airplanes carrying cruise ship tourists collided in mid-air over southeast Alaska.
Princess Cruises confirmed in a statement to media outlets that the pilot of a de Havilland DHC-2 Beaver and all four passengers died in the collision with a de Havilland Otter DHC-3 just after 1pm on Monday (local time) near the town of Ketchikan.
Both floatplanes were carrying cruise passengers from the Royal Princess cruise ship, who were on aerial tours.
“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,” the cruise company said.
Cindy Cicchetti, a passenger on the Royal Princess cruise ship, told the Associated Press that those on board were made aware of the incident by the ship’s captain.
Cichetti also said the ship was being delayed due to the crash, and there were no details available about its impact on the remainder of the trip.
One of the sightseeing flights was operated by Taquan Air. A spokeswoman for the flightseeing told the media that it has suspended operations while federal authorities investigate the deadly crash.
“We are devastated by today’s incident and our hearts go out to our passengers and their families,” Taquan 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.”
Travel Weekly has contacted Princess Cruises for comment.