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One Cruise Passenger Killed, Five Injured in Alaska Shore Trip Crash

June 6, 2013 By: Susan Young

alaskaAlaska State Troopers have identified Thomas Rising, 66, a cruise ship passenger from New Mexico, as the man killed in a float plane crash on a mountainside near Petersburg, AK, earlier this week.

Five other cruise ship passengers and the aircraft's pilot were injured in the crash. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is investigating.

Rising and five other cruise ship passengers from the National Geographic Expeditions Sea Bird had booked the float plane trip as a scenic shore excursion. 

When the deHavilland Beaver, a fixed-wing, single-engine aircraft owned by Pacific Wings of Petersburg, did not return around 4 p.m. Tuesday as expected, a search was initiated.

The plane's emergency locator transmittor helped authorities find the crash site. Just before 7 p.m. Tuesday, a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter from Air Station Sitka located the wreckage at 1,000 feet up Thunder Mountain.

The six survivors were transported back to Petersburg Tuesday evening and received medical treatment. Some had serious injuries, but those were described by Alaska authorities as "not life threatening."

That said, one passenger sustained a broken back in the accident; another had a broken leg. Some passengers were transported by medivac aircraft to Seattle, where they are receiving additional treatment.

Pacific Wings, owned by Sunrise Aviation, provides flightseeing and air-taxi services around southeastern Alaska. 

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About the Author

Susan Young
A veteran of 100-plus cruises, Susan J. Young, is senior contributing editor for cruises – covering ocean, river and niche cruises for Travel Agent and

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By Susan Young | June 6, 2013
Six cruise passengers from the National Geographic Expeditions' Sea Bird were taking a scenic shore excursion by float plane earlier this week when the aircraft hit a mountain near Petersburg, AK.