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5 dead after two float planes crash off coast of Alaska

Last Updated May 14, 2019 at 4:24 am MDT

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Five people have been killed, including four passengers and one pilot after two floatplanes collided and went down in the water near Ketchikan, Alaska.

At least 10 people have also been hospitalized.

The floatplanes collided under unknown circumstances, Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Allen Kenitzer said in an email to The Associated Press. Floatplanes have pontoons mounted under the fuselage so they can land on water.

Eleven people were inside Taquan Air’s single-engine de Havilland Otter DHC-3 when it went down. Ten were taken to a Ketchikan hospital.

All patients were in fair or good condition, according to Marty West, a spokeswoman for PeaceHealth Ketchikan Medical Center.

The passengers were off the cruise ship Royal Princess were on sightseeing flights, one which was operated by Taquan Air. A spokeswoman for the flightseeing company said Taquan 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.”

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. She said the ship is not leaving as scheduled and there weren’t any details as to how the accident will affect the rest of the trip.

The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating.

Weather conditions in the area on Monday included high overcast skies with 9 mph (14 kph) southeast winds. The Ketchikan Daily News reported injured passengers were being taken to a nearby lodge, where the local emergency medical services department was staging. Their conditions were not immediately known.

Rios says it’s not immediately clear if the planes crashed or had anything to do with each other going down in the Monday incident.

Weather conditions included high overcast skies with 9 mph (14 kph) southeast winds.

The Associated Press