Several killed after sightseeing planes collide in mid-air

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KETCHIKAN, Alaska (KKTV/AP) - At least four people were killed after two planes collided in mid-air and crashed off the coast of Ketchikan in southeast Alaska Monday.

CBS Anchorage is reporting 16 people were on board the two sightseeing planes. Rescue teams are still searching for two people.

Princess Cruises has confirmed people on both planes were guests on a seven-day Voyage of the Glaciers cruise that departed Vancouver on May 11. In a statement obtained by CBS Anchorage, they said nine of their guests were rescued and accounted for from one of the aircrafts with a 10th still missing, while four guests on board a second aircraft were killed. Princess Cruises has stated the pilot on the second aircraft was also killed, while the Coast Guard still has the number of dead at four.

All surviving patients were listed in fair or good condition at last report.

The floatplanes collided under unknown circumstances, Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Allen Kenitzer said in an email to The Associated Press. Weather conditions were reportedly overcast with 9 mph winds.

Floatplanes have pontoons mounted under the fuselage so they can land on water.

A team of federal accident investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board is expected to arrive in Alaska Tuesday to begin work on piecing together what happened.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with those who lost their lives and the families of those impacted by today’s accident. Princess Cruises is extending its full support to traveling companions of the guests involved,” Princess Cruises said in a statement.

A passenger on the cruise told the Associated Press the ship is not leaving as scheduled and there weren’t any details as to how the accident will affect the rest of the trip. The cruise was scheduled to arrive in Anchorage Thursday.