ALL NEWS

Utah man among 6 dead in midair Alaskan plane crash

May 15, 2019, 7:19 AM
A Coast Guard Station Ketchikan 45-foot Response Boat-Medium boat crew searches for survivors from downed aircraft in the vicinity of George Inlet near Ketchikan, Alaska, May 13, 2019.

(CNN) — Six people are dead including one Utah man after two floatplanes carrying cruise ship passengers collided in flight near Ketchikan, Alaska, on Monday, the US Coast Guard said.


The Alaska State Troopers identified the deceased passengers as Simon Bodie, 56, of Tempe, New South Wales, Australia; Cassandra Webb, 62, of St. Louis, Missouri; Ryan Wilk, 39, of Utah; Louis Botha, 46, of San Diego, California; and Elsa Wilk, 37, of Richmond, British Columbia, Canada. Randy Sullivan, a 46-year-old pilot from Ketchikan also died.

The Coast Guard, which is leading the investigation, said 10 people were rescued following the collision between a Beaver floatplane and an Otter floatplane.

The Coast Guard had initially announced the death of four people on Monday, as authorities searched for two others who were missing.

The bodies of the missing individuals were located Tuesday night, raising the death toll to six, the Coast Guard said.

Floatplanes are aircrafts with pontoons or floats that allow them to land on water.

The passengers on both planes were guests on a Princess Cruises ship — the Royal Princess — which is on a seven-day trip. There were 14 Americans, one Canadian and one Australian on board the two planes, according to the Coast Guard.

The Royal Princess’ voyage originated in Vancouver, British Columbia, over the weekend and is scheduled to end Saturday in Anchorage, Alaska, the company said. Part of the voyage, the company’s website said, included “scenic glacier viewing” with stops at Juneau, Ketchikan and Skagway.

The passengers on each plane

The two planes collided around 1 p.m. (5 p.m. ET). The Otter plane, operated by Taquan Air, a regional airline based in Ketchikan, was flying a shore excursion with 10 passengers and a pilot aboard. One of those passengers died, Princess Cruises said.

Ten people from the aircraft were transported to the hospital. As of Tuesday night, three had been discharged. A 67-year-old man remains in serious condition, but is improving, a hospital spokeswoman said.

The second plane was carrying four passengers and a pilot on an independent tour, the cruise line said. It was operated by Mountain Air Service, NTSB board member Jennifer Homendy said. Everyone aboard that plane was killed, according to the Coast Guard.

The search for the two missing people

The Coast Guard, Ketchikan Volunteer Rescue Squad, partner agencies and good Samaritans searched the shoreline and forested areas near the crash site for 27 hours, according to the Coast Guard.

The “exhaustive search and rescue efforts” covered 93 square nautical miles, the Coast Guard said.

“We have been in regular contact with the family members throughout our search efforts,” said Capt. Stephen White, Sector Juneau commander. “This is not the outcome we hoped for and extend our deepest sympathies during this very difficult time.”

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.”

“Taquan Air has suspended all scheduled flights and is cooperating fully with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and other authorities to examine every aspect of this event,” the company’s statement said.

No flight data recorders on either aircraft

A 14-member NTSB team of investigators will try to determine what caused the crash, Homendy said during a news conference Tuesday.

Eleven of them were on the scene Tuesday night with the other three on the way.

Investigators will want to talk with surviving passengers, the pilot of the Taquan airplane, other employees of the air operators as well as other pilots and witnesses that were in the area at the time, Homendy said.

They will also be requesting information from parties involved and looking at pilot log books, the training and qualifications of the pilots, any possible medical issues, whether flight plans were filed with the companies or FAA, maintenance records for the aircrafts as well as each company’s operating procedures and whether those procedures were followed, she said.

There were no cockpit voice recorders or flight data recorders on either of the two planes, Homendy also said during the news conference. Neither plane was required by regulation to have such recorders, she said.

The two planes collided between 3,200 and 3,300 feet on the west side of George Inlet, according to Homendy.

The wreckage is expected to be recovered Wednesday, Homendy said, and an NTSB structural expert will try to figure out how the two planes came together.

The-CNN-Wire
™ & © 2019 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.

 

Today’s Top Stories

All News

Pfeifferhorn Avalanche...
Alexandrea Bonilla

Utah Avalanche Awareness Week is underway

To promote safety while recreating at Utah's ski resorts, the Utah Avalanche Center is holding it's fourth annual Avalanche Awareness Week.
7 hours ago
Kaylee Goncalves, Ethan Chapin, Xana Kernodle and Madison Mogen were killed off campus at the Unive...
Michelle Watson and Chris Boyette, CNN

Letters from surviving roommates read at church memorial service for slain University of Idaho students

Originally Published: 04 DEC 22 19:04 ET     (CNN) — At a memorial service for four University of Idaho students who were found stabbed to death last month, a pastor from an Idaho church read aloud letters from the surviving roommates, recalling their memories of their friends and sharing their sadness. Related: ‘Sketched out’ University of […]
7 hours ago
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - DECEMBER 10: Sesame Street cast member and film subject Bob McGrath attends a ...
Dan Heching and Chris Boyette, CNN

Bob McGrath, original ‘Sesame Street’ cast member, dead at 90

Bob McGrath, an original cast member of "Sesame Street," has died, according to statements from his family and Sesame Workshop.
7 hours ago
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - MAY 02: 
  Elon Musk attends The 2022 Met Gala Celebrating "In America: An Ant...
Ramishah Maruf, CNN

Elon Musk speaks out on ‘Twitter Files’ release detailing platform’s inner workings

Originally Published: 04 DEC 22 09:38 ET     (CNN) — Twitter owner Elon Musk spoke out on Saturday evening about the so-called “Twitter Files,” a long tweet thread posted by journalist Matt Taibbi, who had been provided with details about behind-the-scenes discussions on Twitter’s content moderation decision-making, including the call to suppress a 2020 New York […]
1 day ago
bomb threat Utah Tech...
Devin Oldroyd

Utah Tech student dies after falling from fifth-story balcony

A Utah Tech University student is dead after falling from a fifth-story balcony early Sunday morning. The death appears to be accidental.
1 day ago
Photo of a SLCPD cruiser...
Devin Oldroyd

SLCPD arrest suspect following “highly coordinated” pursuit

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — Following a highly coordinated and long search, the Salt Lake City Police Department safely arrested a 22-year-old suspect. According to a press release, Bhode Smith was booked into the Salt Lake County Metro Jail on charges of Failure to Respond to an Officer’s Signal to Stop, Failure to Stop at […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Spicy Homemade Loaded Taters Tots...
Macey's

5 game day snacks for the whole family (with recipes!)

Try these game day snacks to make watching football at home with your family feel like a special occasion. 
Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...
Sorenson

The best tools for Deaf and hard-of-hearing workplace success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Team supporters celebrating at a tailgate party...
Macey's

8 Delicious Tailgate Foods That Require Zero Prep Work

In a hurry? These 8 tailgate foods take zero prep work, so you can fuel up and get back to what matters most: getting hyped for your favorite
christmas decorations candles in glass jars with fir on a old wooden table...
Western Nut Company

12 Mason Jar Gift Ideas for the 12 Days of Christmas [with recipes!]

There are so many clever mason jar gift ideas to give something thoughtful to your neighbors or friends. Read our 12 ideas to make your own!
wide shot of Bear Lake with a person on a stand up paddle board...

Pack your bags! Extended stays at Bear Lake await you

Work from here! Read our tips to prepare for your extended stay, whether at Bear Lake or somewhere else nearby.
young boy with hearing aid...
Sorenson

Accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing

These different types of accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing can help them succeed in school.
Utah man among 6 dead in midair Alaskan plane crash