Death Toll for Sightseeing Flight Crash Rises to Six

File image courtesy Alaska.org

By The Maritime Executive 05-15-2019 01:37:03

The U.S. Coast Guard said Wednesday that it has located the two people who went missing after two sightseeing planes collided near Ketchikan with a combined 14 cruise ship passengers and two pilots on board. On Tuesday night, a Coast Guard helicopter aircrew located the missing individuals and directed the shore-based Ketchikan Volunteer Rescue Squad to the location. 

“We have been in regular contact with the family members throughout our search efforts,” said Capt. Stephen White, Sector Juneau commander. “This is not the outcome we hoped for and [we] extend our deepest sympathies during this very difficult time.”

Over the full course of the search and rescue effort, ten were rescued and treated for their injuries and six were found deceased. All of the passengers on the two flights were cruisers from the vessel Royal Princess, which was making a port call in Ketchikan on an Inside Passage voyage.

The Alaska State Troopers have identified the deceased as Australian national Simon Bodie, 56; U.S. national Louis Both, 46; U.S. national Randy Sullivan, 46 (one of the pilots); U.S. national Cassandra Webb, 62; Canadian national Elsa Wilk, 37; and U.S. national Ruan Wilk, 39.

Coast Guard assets involved in the search included the cutter Bailey Barco, two Coast Guard Air Station Sitka helicopters, two Air Station Ketchikan response boats and an Air Station Kodiak C-130 Hercules aircraft.

The Coast Guard, its partner agencies and good Samaritans conducted surface and air searches around the clock for more than 27 hours. In total, the teams covered a search area of more than 90 square nautical miles. Contributing organizations included the U.S. Forest Service, Alaska Department of Fish and Game, Ketchikan Fire Department, Alaska State Troopers and TEMSCO Aviation. The Ketchikan Volunteer Rescue Squad and SEADOGS conducted multiple shoreline searches.