The bodies of two missing people from a pair of sightseeing planes that collided off the coast of Alaska were found on Tuesday evening, the Coast Guard said, bringing the total number killed in the accident to six.
All 14 passengers on the two planes came from the cruise ship Royal Princess, which was on a seven-day trip from Vancouver, British Columbia, to Anchorage.
A Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter found the two bodies near the crash site of a de Havilland DHC-2 Beaver float plane, which was carrying four passengers and a pilot; everyone from that plane perished in the accident, as well as one person from the de Havilland DHC-3 Otter that collided with it.
“We are deeply saddened to report this news and our thoughts and prayers are with those who lost their lives and the families impacted by today’s accident,” Princess Cruises said in a statement.
The two planes collided Monday at 1:08 p.m. local time, according to Princess Cruises, about eight nautical miles off Ketchikan, Alaska.
Late on Tuesday, the Alaska State Troopers identified those killed as Randy Sullivan, 46, a pilot from Ketchikan, Alaska; Simon Bodie, 56, from Tempe, Australia; Cassandra Webb, 62, from St. Louis; Ryan Wilk, 39, from Utah; Louis Botha, 46, from San Diego; and Elsa Wilk, 37, from Richmond, British Columbia.
“We have been in regular contact with the family members throughout our search efforts,” Capt. Stephen White, Sector Juneau commander, said in a release. “This is not the outcome we hoped for and extend our deepest sympathies during this very difficult time.”
One plane, an Otter seaplane operated by Taquan Air, was carrying 10 guests from the cruise ship as well as a pilot, returning from a tour of the nearby Misty Fjords National Monument. The other aircraft, the Beaver seaplane operated by an “independent tour,” according to the cruise line, carried four Royal Princess passengers and a pilot.
The Beaver appeared to have crashed on a steep rocky shoreline, partially submerged upside down in seawater, volunteer rescuer Chris John told the Anchorage Daily News.