Cruise passengers feared dead in Alaska plane crash

ANCHORAGE, AK — A float plane carrying nine people, eight of them from a Seattle-based Holland America Line cruise ship, crashed Thursday afternoon near Ketchikan, in southeast Alaska.

Cruise passengers feared dead in Alaska plane crash

ANCHORAGE, AK — A float plane carrying nine people, eight of them from a Seattle-based Holland America Line cruise ship, crashed Thursday afternoon near Ketchikan, in southeast Alaska.

A National Transportation Safety Board spokesman in Alaska, Clint Johnson, said search crews found the “wreckage” in very remote, steep terrain. He said the condition of the pilot and eight passengers would not be known until rescue crews reached the scene.

Alaska troopers said a helicopter pilot spotted the plane wreckage against a granite rock face of a cliff, 800 feet above Ella Lake, about 800 miles southeast of Anchorage.

A Federal Aviation Administration spokesman says the DeHavilland DHC-3 Otter crashed Thursday afternoon under unknown circumstances.

Coast Guard Petty Officer 1st Class Kelly Parker says officials were notified of an overdue turboprop Otter operated by a Ketchikan-based sightseeing company, Promech Air, with nine people aboard.

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The agency was launching a helicopter from Sitka and a rescue vessel from Ketchikan to what they described as a crash site.

Officials began tracking an emergency locator transmitter that activated near Misty Fjords, and a helicopter pilot spotted the plane.

Holland America Line said in a statement that eight of the nine people aboard the “small float plane” were passengers on the cruise ship MS Westerdam, which is on a seven-day round-trip cruise that departed from Seattle on June 20.

The plane was operating a shore excursion sold through Holland America Line, the statement said.

“We are incredibly distressed by this situation, and our thoughts and prayers ware with those onboard the plane and their families,” the statement said. “Holland America Line is extending its full support to traveling companions of the guests involved.”

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