Death toll from mid-air crash in Alaska reaches six

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Search crews spent 27 hours searching the site
Search crews spent 27 hours searching the site

A mid-air crash between two sightseeing planes in Alaska has left six people dead after search teams recovered two more bodies.

Rescuers have finished their search having accounted for all 14 passengers who had been on board the seaplanes when they crashed on Monday. 

The two missing were an Australian and a Canadian. Three men and three women, aged between 37 and 62, were killed, including the pilot.

Officials said they have identified all those killed, but their names have not been released. 

Ten people survived but were injured in the collision, three seriously. 

Emergency response crews transport an injured passenger to an ambulance at the George Inlet Lodge docks in Alaska. (AP)

“This is not the outcome we hoped for,” said US Coast Guard Captain Stephen White, who offered condolences to the families of the dead.

The crash took place over open water during daylight near Ketchikan, Southeastern Alaska. 

Those on board the two tour planes were from a Princess Cruises ship.   

The round-the-clock search for those missing lasted 27 hours and covered 93 nautical miles, officials said.

The search has concluded and investigators will now try to determined what caused the crash 

A team of 14 National Transportation Safety Board investigators were sent to the site and divers will start working on Wednesday to pull up the wreckage of the two planes.

NTSB board member Jennifer Homendy said: “We still have to recover the planes and then we have to look at those. It takes some significant work to really understand how the two came together.”

Investigators will also collect information from the survivors, the Federal Aviation Administration, as well as other witnesses who might have been in the area.

They will also look flight logs and training records.

All the planes’ passengers arrived in Ketchikan on the cruise ship Royal Princess during a seven-day trip between Vancouver, British Columbia, and Anchorage, Alaska, Princess Cruises said.

Ten passengers and a pilot were aboard one float plane, a de Havilland Otter DHC-3, operated by Taquan Air.

Four passengers and a pilot were aboard the second float plane, a de Havilland DHC-2 Beaver, run by Mountain Air Service of Ketchikan.

The crash site at Coon Cove about 300 miles (480 km) south of Juneau, Alaska’s capital, is near a tourist lodge that runs excursions to the nearby Misty Fjords National Monument.

Ketchikan-based Taquan Air said the plane was returning from a sightseeing tour of Misty Fjords at the time of the crash. 

Additional reporting by agencies. 

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