At least 4 dead after two floatplanes collide midair over Alaska

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The Coast Guard says three people have died after two sightseeing airplanes collided in midair Monday in southeast Alaska.

All 14 passengers on both planes were from the cruise ship Royal Princess, on a seven-day trip from Vancouver to Anchorage and operated by Princess Cruises, the Washington Post reported.

"We immediately activated our Princess Care Team employees in the region and sent additional team members to Ketchikan overnight to assist the families impacted", O'Connor said in the statement.

The second plane was occupied by four guests, from the Royal Princess, and a pilot, Owyoung says.

The Coast Guard recovered nine guests and the pilot from the Taquan Air flight, according to the cruise line and a separate statement from the air operator.

The search is for two passengers, an Australian and Canadian, but Global Affairs Canada said Tuesday morning that the only Canadian involved in the crash is dead.

Randy Jason Sullivan, 46, was piloting the de Havilland DHC-2 Beaver owned by Mountain Air Service that collided with a larger de Havilland Otter DHC-3 on Monday afternoon in Ketchikan, Alaska.

Ten patients were admitted to PeaceHealth Ketchikan Medical Center, said Mischa Chernick, a spokeswoman with the hospital. "Princess Cruises is extending its full support to traveling companions of the guests involved".

She added: "We have one in critical condition, three in serious condition, and six in fair condition".

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Ten people involved in the crash were rescued by a passing ship, the Saint Innocent.

Cindy Cicchetti, a passenger aboard the Royal Princess, told AP the ship captain announced that two planes were in an accident Monday. He later said four of the missing had been confirmed as dead.

Multiple tour companies offer rides through the fjords around Ketchikan, in the southeasternmost part of Alaska, many of which include a water landing in a floatplane.

Weather conditions in the area on Monday included high overcast skies.

The Royal Princess cruise is now sailing on a seven-day "Voyage of the Glaciers" cruise that departed from Vancouver on May 11.

Seaplane flights over the Alaskan wilderness are popular with tourists and cruise passengers at this time of the year.

Chris John, an official with the Ketchikan Volunteer Rescue Squad, said it appeared the Beaver crashed on a steep rocky shoreline, ending up partially submerged and upside down.

He said the plane's tail and section of the fuselage were 900 feet from the aircraft's floats, which landed near shore.

The NTSB later determined that pilot error, the company's culture and lack of a formal safety program were among the causes of that crash.

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