Federal investigators to probe Alaska midair collision

Federal transportation authorities will investigate after two sightseeing planes collided in midair, killing at least four people.

The Associated Press reported Tuesday that National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigators will arrive Tuesday to begin probing the fatal crash, as two people remain missing following the collision.


Agency spokesman Peter Knudson told the AP that the team, including NTSB board member Jennifer Homendy, would arrive Tuesday afternoon to look into the crash, which involved two floatplanes carrying passengers from a Royal Princess cruise line.

The crash reportedly involved a single-engine de Havilland Otter DHC-3 floatplane operated by Taquan Air carrying 11 people. At least three people aboard a second plane, a slightly smaller single-engine floatplane, were killed.

The collision occurred as one of the planes was returning from Misty Fjords National Monument in Alaska's Tongass National Forest.

Taquan Air told the AP in a statement that it had suspended all operations amid the NTSB's investigation into the crash.

“We are devastated by today’s incident and our hearts go out to our passengers and their families,” the airline said, according to the AP.

The condolences were echoed by the Royal Princess cruise line, which said it was working with the victims' families and friends.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with those who lost their lives and the families of those impacted by today’s accident. Princess Cruises is extending its full support to traveling companions of the guests involved,” the company said.

Local emergency responders worked with state and federal agents as well as good Samaritans to help rescue and recover victims following the crash.