Richmond woman among those killed in Alaska floatplane crash

Richmond woman among those killed in Alaska floatplane crash

Rescue teams were searching the waters of southeast Alaska for two passengers missing after a pair of sightseeing planes crashed in midair, killing at least four people, the U.S. Coast Guard said on Tuesday.

Global Affairs Canada said in an emailed statement Tuesday that the name and hometown of the victim is not being made public for privacy reasons.

Princess Cruises spokesman Brian O'Conner said the company was extending its full support to investigating authorities as well as to the travelling companions of the guests involved.

The Royal Princess cruise ship, which left Vancouver bound for Anchorage on Saturday, is schedule to return to Vancouver on May 25.

A popular activity is flightseeing in Misty Fjords National Monument to view the lakes, snowcapped peaks and glacier valleys in the wilderness area.

The second plane, a single-engine de Havilland Otter DHC-3, was on a Misty Fjords shore excursion sold through Princess Cruises and operated by Taquan Air and had ten cruise ship guests on board, plus a pilot.

Cindy Cicchetti, a passenger on the Royal Princess cruise ship, told the AP that the ship captain announced that two planes were in an accident Monday.

Three of those found dead were aboard the Beaver plane.

The larger plane was operated by Taquan Air of Ketchikan and passengers booked the flights through the cruise ship as an excursion.

Ten people survived but were injured in the collision, which took place over open water during daylight hours, the Coast Guard said.

Local emergency responders worked with state and federal agencies and good Samaritan vessels to help rescue and recover victims.

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"Obviously, we had some injuries - broken bones, lacerations, back injuries, but everybody was reasonably calm", he told the news conference Tuesday.

"We're active search efforts", he says.

"We are devastated by this news and our hearts go out to our passengers and their families", the airline said in a statement.

It's not known how the planes collided.

The Coast Guard, the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board are all investigating the incident.

"At this point there is a variety of factors that go into survivability", Coast Guard Chief Petty Officer Matthew Schofield said.

Eleven of them were on the scene Tuesday night with the other three on the way.

"The worst-case scenario is they were coming straight at each other and hit head on". The other one was by an independent carrier. One woman says people are changing their plans in the wake of the tragedy.

McCaughey said there were many unanswered questions and he was awaiting the outcome of the investigation, but he wondered whether atmospheric conditions played a role.

Weather conditions in the area on Monday included high overcast skies with 14 kph southeast winds.

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