The death toll in Monday's mid-air collision between two floatplanes carrying passengers from a Princess Cruises ship near Ketchikan, Alaska, has risen to six, according to the latest update from the cruise line.
Late Tuesday evening, May 14, authorities recovered the final two passengers from the independent air tour operator in Alaska, the cruise line said in a statement provided to Travel Agent. With this recovery, there are now six confirmed fatalities as a result of the mid-air collision that occurred between two small float planes, approximately eight nautical miles from Ketchikan on Monday, May 13 (the deceased include four Americans, one Australian and one Canadian).
One aircraft, operated by Taquan Air, was flying a shore excursion sold through Princess Cruises. The flight was returning from a Misty Fjords tour carrying 10 guests from Royal Princess and a pilot. The second float plane involved, operated by Mountain Air – an independent flight tour company not sold through Princess Cruises -- was carrying four additional guests from the same ship along with a pilot, Princess said.
Previously, the U.S. Coast Guard and local search and rescue teams confirmed that nine of 10 American guests and the pilot of the Taquan Air plane were rescued and received medical attention. Early Tuesday morning, an additional report was received that they had recovered the last guest from the Taquan aircraft. All travel companions and family members of those involved in the incident have been notified by the authorities.
“All of us at Princess Cruises are deeply saddened by this tragic news and send our heartfelt condolences to the families affected," said Brian O’Connor, a spokesperson for Princess Cruises. "We immediately activated our Princess Care Team employees in the region and sent additional team members to Ketchikan overnight to assist the guests and their families who were impacted.”
Royal Princess is sailing a seven-day Voyage of the Glaciers cruise that departed Vancouver on May 11 and is scheduled to arrive in Whittier (Anchorage) on Saturday, May 18.