July 24, 2007
Coast Guard Lt. j.g. George Adams said Coast Guard helicopter crews at the heavily forested site were told by searchers at the scene that all aboard the Taquan Air de Havilland Beaver died. The wreckage of the single-engine floatplane was spotted by aerial searchers in the area where an aircraft distress signal had been picked up.
Earlier reports put the plane at an elevation of 2,400 feet, but Adams said the wing portion was located higher than the fuselage, indicating that the aircraft slid down after impact.
The floatplane left Ketchikan shortly before 1:30 p.m. for a tour over Misty Fiords National Monument. It was reported missing after a Taquan dispatcher tried to contact the plane without success. The downed plane was located on land near the south arm of Rudyerd Bay about 35 miles northeast of Ketchikan.
The passengers on board were traveling on the Sun Princess, an 856-foot ship with Princess Cruises that was on the second day of a seven-day roundtrip cruise from Seattle. The vessel left Ketchikan two hours after its scheduled departure of 4:30 p.m.
The names of the pilot and passengers were not immediately released pending notification of next of kin.
Princess spokeswoman Julie Benson said in a prepared statement that the cruise ship company has cut off Taquan Air tours at this time. She said Princess also notified the families of the passengers.
The cause of the crash is under investigation.
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