11:25 AM PDT, August 6, 2021
Six people were killed during a sightseeing excursion when their plane crashed in Southeast Alaska on Thursday leaving, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.
The deceased included the pilot of and five passengers, whose names have not yet been released. They were guests aboard a cruise with the Holland America Cruise Line, the company confirmed, CNN reported.
The cruise ship had left Seattle on Saturday for a seven-day excursion in Alaska, a report said.
A spokesperson with Holland America Cruises said the floatplane excursion was offered by Southeast Aviation, a tour operator-independent from the cruise, the Anchorage Daily News reported.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of the victims and with our guests and team members who are affected by this tragedy,” Holland America Line said in a statement, KIRO 7News reported.
The plane had gone missing near Ketchikan. An emergency signal came in around 11:20 a.m. in the area of Misty Fjords National Monument. Around 2:37 p.m. a Coast Guard helicopter crew located the plane’s wreckage. There were no survivors, the U.S. Coast Guard said in a statement to CNN.
Clint Johnson, Alaska chief of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), told the Anchorage Daily News that the plane’s debris was found 12 miles northeast of Ketchikan. He said the NTSB is investigating the crash and described the location where it took place as “ steep, mountainous, and densely tree-covered terrain.”
According to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the plane involved in the crash was a single-engine DeHavilland DHC-2 Beaver, the News reported.
On Thursday, weather in the area was reported as light rain with moderate winds and low visibility.
Southeast Aviation said it is cooperating with the investigation.
“Our hearts are shattered at the loss of six people today,” the company said in a statement to USA Today. “We are thinking of and grieving with the families of the five passengers and our dear friend and pilot aboard the aircraft. We are cooperating with the first responders and agencies involved, including the U.S. Coast Guard, National Transportation Safety Board and Alaska State Troopers. All of us share in the anguish of this tragic incident, and our prayers go out to all affected.”