Third Cruise Ship Alaska Floatplane Crash Kills Five – On Monday, May 13, 2018 two Alaskan floatplanes (see video below) filled with Royal Princess cruise ship passengers collided in mid-flight near Ketchikan, Alaska in George Inlet at 1:08 p.m. local time, according to Princess Cruises, about eight nautical miles off Ketchikan, Alaska.
We saw Royal Princess and watched passengers board in Seattle at Pier 66 this past Friday, on May 10, as she was on her way to her first Alaska cruise of the 2019 season.
This is the third Alaska cruise ship floatplane excursion crash in the past four years. Three years ago on Father’s Day, Sunday, June 19, 2016, an Alaska Seaplane Tours De Havilland DHC-2 crashed in Misty Fjords National Monument on Big Goat Lake, located approximately 25 air miles east of Ketchikan, Alaska. The seaplane was damaged and quickly sunk. All six cruise ship passengers were able to swim ashore and were rescued.
Four years ago, June 25, 2015, eight cruise ship passengers who were sailing aboard Holland America a Line Westerdam were on a sea plane sightseeing cruise ship excursion near Ketchikan when the DeHavilland DHC-3 Otter, a small float plane, crashed with the eight cruise ship passengers and the pilot aboard. All passengers and the seaplane pilot were killed.
In this Alaska floatplane accident, passengers from the cruise ship Royal Princess and were on sightseeing excursion flights, one of which was operated by Taquan Air.
The dead include Louis Botha, 46, of San Diego, Simon Bodie, 56, from Tempe, New South Wales, Australia, Cassandra Webb, 62, from St. Louis, Ryan Wilk, 39, from Utah and Elsa Wilk, 37, of Richmond, British Columbia, Canada. Also killed was the pilot of one of the planes, Randy Sullivan, 46, of Ketchikan.
Six people were killed, several of those injured have been transported to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle for treatment of their injuries. According to Susan Gregg, hospital spokesperson, their injuries range from fractures to ribs, pelvis, arm and spine.
Eleven people were inside Taquan Air’s single-engine de Havilland Otter DHC-3 when it went down as it returned from Misty Fjords National Monument, located in Tongass National Forest. Three people who died were among five people aboard the second plane, a single-engine de Havilland DHC-2 Beaver, according to Coast Guard Lt. Brian Dykens.
The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating and are expected to arrive in Ketchikan Tuesday afternoon, agency spokesman Peter Knudson said. He said board member Jennifer Homendy also is traveling with the so-called “Go Team,” which investigates major accidents.
“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,” Princess Cruises said in a statement.
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Video: Alaska plane crash: Five Royal passengers dead in Ketchikan