Four dead, others injured after mid-air floatplane collision in Alaska

Ketchikan Alaska. The passenger was from one of two float planes reported down in George Inlet early Monday afternoon and

Ketchikan Alaska. The passenger was from one of two float planes reported down in George Inlet early Monday afternoon and

At least five people have tragically died after two floatplanes crashed off the coast of southeastern Alaska on Monday afternoon.

The majority of them being cruise ship passengers from the Royal Princess which was docked in Ketchikan for the day on Monday, May 13.

"All of us at Princess Cruises are deeply saddened by this tragic news and we are extending our full support to the investigating authorities as well as the travelling companions of the guests involved", company spokesman Brian O'Connor said in a statement.

The Royal Princess departed Vancouver last Saturday, and was scheduled to arrive in Anchorage, Alaska, on Saturday May 18.

Coast Guard Petty Officer Jon-Paul Rios told The Associated Press the DHC-3 was carrying 11 people.

The second floatplane, which was also involved in the crash, was carrying guests from the Royal Princess on a different tour.

The Ketchikan Daily News reported injured passengers were being taken to a nearby lodge, where the local emergency medical services department was staging.

The two planes collided in mid-air Monday, killing six people, the Coast Guard said.

"The two planes converged between 3,200 and 3,300 feet on the west side of the George Inlet", she said, citing preliminary information as the investigation begins.

"The Captain came on and said there had been an accident", said cruise ship passenger, Diron Holt.

The larger plane was operated by Taquan Air of Ketchikan and passengers booked the flights through the cruise ship as an excursion.

On the other de Havilland DHC-3 Otter float plane, there was a total of eleven people including the pilot and it was an excursion booked through the cruise line.

"We are devastated by today's incident and our hearts go out to our passengers and their families", it said in a statement. "At this time, we are 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", Taquan Air said in a statement.

Five people were aboard the other plane, a de Havilland DHC-2 Beaver.

A preliminary report by the ATSB found there were no obvious mechanical defects or fuel contamination on the aircraft, which was up-to-date with maintenance checks and flown by a well-qualified pilot, Canadian-born Gareth Morgan, 44.

A team of federal accident investigators is expected to arrive in Alaska on Tuesday to try to piece together what caused the deadly midair collision. The NTSB later determined that pilot error and lack of a formal safety program were behind the crash.

Princess Cruises said rescue efforts were continuing for the unnamed Canadian and Australian, but Global Affairs Canada confirmed the Canadian was among those killed.