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Six confirmed dead as NTSB team arrives to investigate midair floatplane collision in Southeast Alaska

Zaz Hollander and Alex Demarban, Alaska Dispatch News, Anchorage on

Published in News & Features

Taquan Air suspended flights for a second day Tuesday, according to a spokesman working with the company.

No one answered a call to Mountain Air, a small company, on Tuesday. Sullivan flew four additional guests from Royal Princess in the Beaver, on an independent flight tour.

Both flight companies are based in Ketchikan.

Wreckage of the floatplanes was located about a mile and a half apart, according to the borough. The Otter crashed in the Coon Cove area. The Beaver crashed in the Mahoney Creek area.

The South Tongass Volunteer Fire Department was dispatched just before 1 p.m. Monday to what was initially reported as a boat crash in the inlet, the borough said. Rescuers didn't discover the two planes down until about 20 minutes into the incident.

Four of the survivors were flown to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle on Monday night, starting at around 9:30 p.m., according to hospital spokesperson Susan Gregg.

 

Their injuries range from "arm fractures to ribs to spine to leg," Gregg said. "Nobody's in a life-threatening condition."

By Wednesday morning, all four were in "satisfactory" condition, the hospital said: a 63-year-old woman and 61-year-old husband wife, as well as a 67-year-old man originally recovering in the intensive-care unit.

Six other survivors were admitted to PeaceHealth Ketchikan Medical Center, a spokesperson said. Three were released Tuesday, while three remained in "fair" condition.

The Ketchikan rescue squad photographed and cataloged aircraft parts in preparation before the NTSB investigators arrived, said Jerry Kiffer, an incident commander for the group.

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