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Australian dies in Alaskan plane crash

Australian dies in Alaskan plane crash

At least five people were killed after two sightseeing airplanes carrying cruise ship tourists collided in midair Monday near a southeast Alaska town, the Coast Guard said.

It is believed that the planes - a de Havilland DHC-2 Beaver (carrying four guests) and a de Havilland Otter DHC-3 (carrying 10 guests) - collided in mid-air, according to the Federal Aviation Administration, Anchorage Daily News reported.

Cindy Cicchetti, a passenger on the Royal Princess cruise ship told the AP that the ship captain announced that two planes were in an accident Monday.

"All of us at Princess Cruises are deeply saddened by this tragic news", spokesman Brian O'Connor said.

Royal Princess is now sailing a 7-night Alaska cruise which departed Vancouver, Canada on May 11, 2019.

A Coast Guard helicopter searches for an Australian and a Canadian, who were initially missing.

Emergency response crews transport an injured passenger to an ambulance at the George Inlet Lodge docks.

It is understood the Otter floatplane was returning from a Misty Fjords tour while the Beaver floatplane was on an independent tour.

The United States Coast Guard had earlier said four bodies had been recovered - three from the smaller float plane and one from the larger plane - while 10 survivors were being treated for injuries at a hospital in Ketchikan.

A Utah man is among the victims of a deadly plane collision that occurred in Alaska Monday.

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The pilot and nine passengers on the Otter were able to make their way to shore, where they were rescued and taken to hospital, he said.

The planes, featuring pontoons that allow them to land on water, were flying cruise ship passengers on tours of Misty Fjords National Monument in the nearby Tongass National Forest, Princess Cruises said in a statement.

"We are devastated by today's incident and our hearts go out to our passengers and their families", Taquan said in a statement.

"Our focus is on assisting these passengers, the pilot, our staff, their families and loved ones, and first responders."

Searches are continuing for three other people missing after the crash on Monday.

A preliminary report by the ATSB found there were no obvious mechanical defects or fuel contamination on the aircraft, which was up-to-date with maintenance checks and flown by a well-qualified pilot, Canadian-born Gareth Morgan, 44.

"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.

Weather conditions included high overcast skies with 9 miles per hour (14 kph) southeast winds.

The National Transportation Safety Board said it was launching a "Go Team" to investigate the cause of the accident.