Emergency crews were trying at the weekend to retrieve the bodies of eight cruise ship passengers and a pilot, killed when a DeHavilland DHC-3 Otter turboprop floatplane went down on a sightseeing flight.
The passengers were aboard Holland America Line’s Westerdam, which docked in Ketchikan, Alaska (a town known for its totem poles) during a seven-night Alaska cruise out of Seattle.
The plane, found against a granite cliff, 240 metres above a lake, was operated by Ketchikan-based Promech Air. Whether the plane flew into the cliff is a possibility under investigation by the US National Transportation Safety Board.
The plane went down in a rugged, mountainous area of Misty Fjords National Monument, above Ella Lake about 1300km southeast of Anchorage, and weather conditions in the area are harsh, CBC News reported.
“We are incredibly distressed by this situation, and our thoughts and prayers are with those onboard the plane and their families,” a Holland America Line statement said.
“Holland America Line is extending its full support to travelling companions of the guests involved.”
The plane was one of five Otter floatplanes in the Promech fleet. The company also operates four de Havilland Beavers.
Written by Peter Needham