The mid-air collision took place at 1:08 p.m. local time approximately eight nautical miles out of Ketchikan, Princess said. One of the aircraft, operated by Taquan Air, was operating a shore excursion sold through Princess Cruises. It was returning from a Misty Fjords tour carrying 10 guests from the Royal Princess and a pilot. The second plane was operating an independent flight tour carrying four additional guests from the Royal Princess, along with a pilot.
The U.S. Coast Guard and local search and rescue teams have confirmed that nine of 10 American guests and the pilot of the Taquan Air plane were rescued and are receiving medical attention. Overnight, the Coast Guard reported that they had recovered the last guest on the Taquan aircraft and were taking action to notify the family.
Princess says that authorities have also confirmed that there were three fatalities from the independent air tour recovered overnight, two guests and the pilot who were Americans. Rescue efforts continue for the other two guests, one Australian and one Canadian.
“All of us at Princess Cruises are deeply saddened by this tragic news and we are extending our full support to the investigating authorities as well as the traveling companions of the guests involved,” 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 families 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 Anchorage on Saturday, May 18. Royal Princess departed Ketchikan approximately 3.5 hours late and will arrive in Juneau at approximately 9:00 local time.