Two American Princess Cruises passengers and the pilot of a seaplane have been confirmed dead in a mid-air crash with another small aircraft in Alaska.

One Australian and a Canadian passenger are missing from an independent air tour.

The latest update from the US Coast Guard and local search and rescue teams confirmed that nine of ten American passengers on an organised shore excursion flight from Royal Princess with Taquan Air were rescued and taken for medical attention.

The latest Coast Guard report said that the last passenger on the Taquan aircraft had been recovered and action was being taken to notify the family.

Princess Cruises said: “Authorities have confirmed there were three fatalities from the independent air tour recovered overnight, two guests and the pilot who were Americans. Rescue efforts continue for the other two guests, one Australian and one Canadian.”

 

Brian O’Connor, a spokesman for the line, said: “All of us at Princess Cruises are deeply saddened by this tragic news and we are extending our full support to the investigating authorities as well as the travelling companions of the guests involved.

“We immediately activated our Princess Care Team employees in the region and sent additional team members to Ketchikan overnight to assist the families impacted.”

The mid-air collision occurred between the two aircraft on Monday at 1.08 pm local time, about eight miles from Ketchikan.

One aircraft, operated by Taquan Air, was flying a shore excursion sold through Princess Cruises. The flight was returning from a Misty Fjords tour carrying ten guests from Royal Princess and a pilot.

The second seaplane involved was operating an independent flight tour carrying four additional guests from Royal Princess along with a pilot.

The aircraft operated by Taquan, a regional airline based in Ketchikan, was identified as a single-engine de Havilland DHC-3 Otter.

Coast Guard said the second plane as a single-engine de Havilland DHC-2 Beaver which was on an independent tour.

Royal Princess is on a seven-day Voyage of the Glaciers itinerary that departed Vancouver on May 11 and is due to arrive in Anchorage on Saturday.