ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) - Six people are missing after two floatplanes collided in midair Monday near the southeast Alaska town of Ketchikan, injuring 10 other people, one critically.
The planes collided under unknown circumstances, Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Allen Kenitzer said in an email to The Associated Press.
Eleven passengers were on a de Havilland Otter DHC-3. Ten of those passengers were taken to a Ketchikan hospital.
One patient was listed in critical condition, and the others were in fair or good condition, according to Mischa Chernick, a spokeswoman for PeaceHealth Ketchikan Medical Center.
The Coast Guard said the 11th person on board that plane is missing.
Five people were aboard the other plane, a de Havilland DHC-2 Beaver. Petty Officer Jon-Paul Rios said those people were unaccounted for.
A passenger on the Royal Princess cruise ship told the AP that 14 people on the downed floatplanes were cruise passengers.
Cindy Cicchetti said 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 Coast Guard released the following statement regarding the crash:
The Coast Guard, partner agencies and good Samaritans continue to respond to the report of two downed aircraft and are searching for three people in the vicinity of George Inlet near Ketchikan, Alaska, Monday.
Ten people were rescued and are receiving medical care, the extent of their injuries are unknown. Three people are confirmed deceased.
The aircraft involved were a Beaver float plane and an Otter float plane.
The Coast Guard is searching with the cutter Bailey Barco, an Air Station Sitka MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew, a HC-130 from Kodiak is flying in relief crews from Sitka and two Station Ketchikan 45-foot Response Boat-Mediums.
Coast Guard Sector Juneau is actively coordinating the search with the following agencies:
- U.S. Forest Service
- Alaska Department of Fish and Game
- Ketchikan Fire Department
- Ketchikan Volunteer Rescue Squad
- Alaska State Troopers
- TEMSCO Aviation
'In a remote area such as this, given our limited resources, we rely on our partner agencies and appreciate the support that good Samaritans have rendered to this point,' said Capt. Stephen White, Coast Guard Sector Juneau commander. 'With the loss of life in this case, we know that the impact to Alaska is immense and our thoughts are with the community here.'
The National Transportation Safety Board will investigate the cause of the incident. Preliminary reports to the Coast Guard indicate that this was a mid-air collision between the two planes.
This is a developing case and we will update as we learn more.
Associated Press contributed to this report.