Eight Holland America Line cruise ship passengers and a pilot were on a sightseeing tour of the two-million-acre Misty Fjords National Monument when their plane crashed, killing all nine passengers on board.
The sightseeing plane, a DeHavilland DHC-3 otter turboprop, was reported to have crashed in the steep, mountainous terrain about 25 miles northeast of Ketchikan, Alaska, according to CNN.
The plane, which was booked through Holland America Cruise, was reported to have departed Seattle on June 20 and reported to have crashed on Thursday, June 25 at about 12:20 PT.
It is not yet known what caused the crash leading to the death of the passengers from MS Westerdam who were on a seven-day cruise.
A helicopter spotted the wreckage against a granite rock face 800 feet above Ella Lake. The plane was reported missing on Thursday afternoon, but due to poor weather, the bodies were not recovered from the crash site.
The head of the National Transportation Safety Board's Alaska Office, Mr. Clint Johnson, in a statement said, "[I]t was too soon to know circumstances of the crash, including whether the plane flew into the cliff", and he also assured that his outfit is assembling a high-level team comprising three members from Alaska and at least two people from Washington, D.C. to investigate the crash."
Promech Air, the company operating the plane, in their statement confirmed the crash and the death of the passengers on board. They said are incredibly distressed by the situation and extend their prayers to those on board the plane and their families.
The president of Promech Air, Mr. Marcus Sessoms, said in a statement, "At this moment, all of us share the pain and anguish of this terrible event. Our thoughts and prayers go out to everyone touched by this tragedy. There is nothing I can say that can alleviate the pain and overwhelming sense of loss that we and the loved ones of those affected are feeling."
According to a recent report by CNN, eight passengers and a pilot were on board the flight.
Alaska State Troopers identified the victims as Hal Cheney, 71, and Mary Doucette, 59, both of Lodi, California; Glenda Cambiaso, 31, and Hugo Cambiaso, 65, both of North Potomac, Maryland; June Kranenburg, 73, and Leonard Kranenburg, 63, both of Medford, Oregon; Margie Apodaca, 63, and Raymond Apodaca, 70, both of Sparks, Nevada; and the pilot, Bryan Krill, 64, of Hope, Idaho.
Since the sad news broke out, people all over the world have taken to social media to express their shock and sadness about the incident and to pray for the families who have lost their loved ones in the crash.
[Image via KING5/ Brian Westbrook]