Australian dead after the cruise ship disaster


A passenger on an Australian cruise ship died after two tourist seaplanes clashed in the middle of Alaska.

The US Coast Guard confirmed on Tuesday that one of the four people killed was an Australian.

The Australian was initially listed as missing.

"The Australian is unfortunately one of the dead," said US Coast Guard lieutenant Brian Dykens at the APA.

Ten people, all Americans, were rescued and received medical treatment while four were confirmed dead. Two more people are still missing.

Dive teams are looking for the couple lost in the freezing cold waters of an entrance to southeastern Alaska, Tuesday. The other passenger is Canadian.

The temperature of the water off Ketchikan on Tuesday was 8.8 degrees, according to the National Weather Service. The expected survival time in water from four to 10 degrees is from one to three hours, according to the US Task Force Search and Rescue website.

The Royal Princess, which can carry up to 3600 people, was among the four cruise ships of the size of a city in the small coastal community on Monday.

A popular activity is "flightseeing" in the Misty Fjords Fjords National Monument to see the lakes, snow-capped peaks and glacial valleys in the wilderness.

The largest aircraft, a de Havilland Otter DHC-3 with 10 passengers and the pilot, was returning from Misty Fjord when it collided with another tourist plane carrying four passengers from the same cruise ship and a pilot.

The cause of the crash in relatively good weather conditions, overcast skies with strong southeast winds was not known.

The accident occurred about 13 kilometers from Ketchikan, near George Inlet. The planes went down about two kilometers away with some debris on the ground.

The smaller plane, a de Havilland DHC-2 Beaver, was partially submerged in the bank of George Inlet after the single-engine plane overturned and hit some trees before crashing, according to coast guard Lt Brian Dykens. The biggest Otter landed in the water and sank, he said.

Investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board should have arrived Tuesday later.

Three others who died were among the five people aboard the Beaver, according to Dykens.

Princess Cruises in her release said that two passengers and the pilot were among those killed on this plane.

Canadian officials said one of its citizens was among the dead. It seems that the Beaver broke up in the middle of the air, according to Jerry Kiffer, commander of the Ketchikan emergency medical service.

He said that the tail and the fuselage section of the plane were 275m from the floats of the aircraft, which landed near the shore.

After the accident, the 10 injured passengers were initially taken to a Ketchikan hospital. Four patients were subsequently transferred to the Harbourview Medical Center in Seattle, with various broken bones, spokeswoman Susan Gregg said.

The Royal Princess left Vancouver, British Columbia, May 11 and was due to arrive in Anchorage on Saturday.

"We are extending our full support to the investigating authorities and fellow travelers of the guests involved," the company said in a statement.



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