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In Alaska, Planes Crash Into Each Other, Killing at Least 4

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At least four people were killed, 10 others were injured and two were missing after two small planes carrying cruise ship passengers collided in midair on Monday over a remote part of southeast Alaska, the authorities said.

It was not immediately clear what had caused the two small propeller planes, which had pontoons for landing on water, to crash near George Inlet at about 1 p.m. local time. The passengers had been on a Royal Princess cruise ship.

Lt. Brian Dykens, a United States Coast Guard spokesman, said more than 50 members of the Coast Guard were using helicopters and boats to search for the missing people.

Mischa Chernick, a spokeswoman for PeaceHealth Ketchikan Medical Center, said three of the rescued passengers were in serious condition and seven were in fair condition.

George Inlet is about eight nautical miles from Ketchikan, which is a popular stop for cruise ships due to the extensive outdoor activities available in the area. One of the planes, which was carrying 10 passengers and a pilot on an excursion that was sold through the cruise line, was returning from a tour of Misty Fjords, a national monument and wilderness area, Princess Cruises said in a statement sent to local news media.

The other plane was carrying four cruise passengers and a pilot on an independent tour, the company said.

The larger plane was operated by Taquan Air, which did not immediately respond to a request for comment. It was not immediately known what company had operated the smaller plane.

“We are devastated by today’s incident and our hearts go out to our passengers and their families,” Taquan said in a statement, according to The Associated Press.

The cruise ship left from Vancouver on May 11 and is scheduled to arrive in Anchorage on May 18, Princess Cruises said.

The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the crash.



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