5 dead after midair collision in Alaska

At least 6 unaccounted for after 2 Alaska floatplanes go down, Coast Guard says

UPDATE: Five dead after two flightseeing planes crash with cruise ship tourists aboard

The U.S. Coast Guard, partner agencies and volunteers are now looking for three missing people following reports of two floatplanes colliding around George Inlet near Ketchikan, Alaska.

The cruise line confirmed to CityNews Vancouver that both planes were carrying guests from Royal Princess, which is now sailing a seven-day Voyage of the Glaciers cruise after departing Vancouver on Saturday, May 11 for Anchorage.

The tragic accident occurred on Monday afternoon with guest from the large Royal Princess cruise ship while it was docked in Ketchikan. "Rescue efforts continue for the other two guests, one Australian and one Canadian", the statement said.

Six people are unaccounted for after two floatplanes went down in Southeast Alaska, the Coast Guard said Monday evening.

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The Coast Guard says 10 people were rescued after small boats and a helicopter were dispatched to the crash site.

"With the loss of life in this case, we know that the impact to Alaska is vast", said Capt. Stephen White, the USCG Sector Juneau commander.

Investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board in Washington DC are expected to arrive in Ketchikan later on Tuesday.

The planes collided at 1:08 p.m. Monday. The planes were carrying passengers from a cruise ship which departed from Vancouver on Saturday.

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Taquan Air, operator of the Otter, has suspended operations while federal authorities investigate the deadly crash.

"We immediately activated our Princess Care Team employees in the region and sent additional team members to Ketchikan overnight to assist the families impacted", said Brian O'Connor, a spokesman for Princess Cruises, in a statement. She also said the ship would not leave as scheduled and that details were not provided as to how the accident could affect the rest of the cruise ship's trip.

Ten people with injuries from the incident were taken to PeaceHealth Ketchikan Medical Center, according to hospital spokeswoman Mischa Chernick.

Eleven people were inside a single-engine de Havilland Otter DHC-3 operated by Taquan Air when it went down as it returned from Misty Fjords National Monument.

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Rescuers said they have found at least 10 survivors after the crash, which happened off Alaska's coast, some 25 to 30 miles (40-48 km) northeast of the city of Ketchikan.

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