Published: Wed, May 15, 2019

Focus turns to investigation in deadly Alaska mid-air crash

Focus turns to investigation in deadly Alaska mid-air crash

The search continues for two missing people - including a Canadian - following Monday's mid-air float plane crash in Alaska.

Alaska State Troopers confirmed late Tuesday that Elsa Wilk, of Richmond, was a victim in the crash that occurred after planes carrying cruise ship tourists collided in southeast Alaska.

The ship left Vancouver, British Columbia, on May 11 and was scheduled to arrive in Anchorage Saturday.

Canadian officials said Tuesday that one of its citizens was among the dead.

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. National Transportation Safety Board investigators were on their way from Washington, D.C., to the crash site.

"We have been in regular contact with the family members throughout our search efforts", said US Coast Guard Captain Stephen White, in a statement.

The two float planes were both carrying passengers from the Royal Princess cruise ship, which had made its way to Anchorage from Vancouver. Ten people have been taken to hospital with unspecified injuries.

A team of federal accident investigators is expected to arrive in Alaska Tuesday to try to piece together what caused a deadly mid-air collision between two sightseeing planes. One of the survivors was reported in critical condition, three are in serious condition and six people are in fair condition, authorities said earlier.

Ten people were rescued while four were confirmed dead.

The U.S. Coast Guard and search and rescue volunteers had been searching for the two missing people for over 12 hours and as recently as Tuesday evening, still held out hope they would find them alive.

The debris field was about 300 metres wide and 800 metres long, with doors, seats and life-jackets strewn in a way that indicated an aircraft had come apart in the air, Kiffer said.

The larger plane was operated by Taquan Air of Ketchikan and passengers booked the flights through the cruise ship as an excursion. Each plane also had a single pilot.

The passengers from the cruise ship Royal Princess were on sightseeing flights. Four patients were later transferred to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, suffering various broken bones, spokeswoman Susan Gregg said.

Taquan Air released a statement saying it was "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".

The NTSB later determined that pilot error and lack of a formal safety programme were behind the crash.

Like this: