Five passengers from the Holland American Line cruise ship New Amsterdam have lost their lives in a sightseeing excursion plane crash near Ketchikan Alaska. The accident happened Thursday, when a De Havilland Beaver aircraft crashed near Misty Fjords National Monument approximately eight miles northeast of Ketchikan Alaska. The pilot of the aircraft was also killed in the accident which had no survivors. Authorities were alerted to the crash by the plane’s emergency alert beacon which was activated around 11:30AM . United States Coast Guard helicopter rescue crews subsequently located the crash site around 2:30 PM and confirmed the tragic loss. The Coast Guard indicates the weather conditions around take off for the plane were a 900-foot cloud ceiling with two miles of visibility, with mist and light rain, and 9 mph winds.
The sightseeing plane was reportedly owned and operated by Southeast Aviation LLC. A statement released by Holland America indicated the excursion ticket was not sold by Holland America. Early reports indicate the lost passengers started their seven day Holland America cruise in Seattle and Ketchikan was the cruise ship’s first stop.
Ketchikan is one of the regular Alaska cruise ship stops and offers wide variety of excursions for cruise ship passengers while the cruise vessels are in port including many float plane sight-seeing trips. Unfortunately, several flights near Misty Fjords have turned deadly. In 2019 a mid air collision between two sightseeing planes resulted in the death of six passengers. In 2015 another sightseeing excursion plane crashed into a mountain side killing nine persons.
Investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board have been sent to the site to conduct an investigation into possible cause of the crash.