Update 8:30 PM 5/14/19
Coast Guard Officials have announced the recovery of the remaining two bodies from Monday afternoon’s plane crash. This puts the final death toll at 6, with 10 more in the hospital.
All five people aboard the Mountain Air Service aircraft are deceased, as well as one on the Taquan Air flight.
KETCHIKAN, Alaska - The death toll has risen in a Monday afternoon mid-air collision.
Just after noon on Monday, officials received reports of a mid-air collision between two planes – both carrying passengers from the same Princess Cruiseline ship.
Coast Guard officials have reported another body recovered overnight, this time from the Taquan Air De Havilland Turbo Otter. The other 10 people of the plane, nine guests and the pilot, are receiving medical treatment.
Three more are confirmed dead from the second aircraft, a De Havilland DHC-2 Beaver. Reports from the Federal Aviation Administration identify the second aircraft as registered to Mountain Air Service LLC. The company is owned and operated by Ketchikan resident, Randy Sullivan. At this time, it is not confirmed Sullivan was the pilot.
In total, 10 people have been rescued and are receiving medical treatment, four have died, and two more are still unaccounted for, both from the Mountain Air Service aircraft.
The Coast Guard has identified the passengers as 14 Americans, one Canadian, and one Australian.
Coast Guard Rescue Crews along with several other partner agencies are continuing to comb the water, shoreline, and forested areas for the missing two.
Both Taquan Air and Princess Cruiselines have issued statements expressing their condolences and extending their support to passengers and their families.
The National Transportation Safety Board, the Federal Aviation Administration, and other partner agencies will continue investigation the incident.
Local aviation experts believe the crash was likely caused by poor flying conditions and narrow air space. They also say instruments are unusable when flying above the George Inlet and pilots have to rely solely on sight in very poor visibility conditions.