JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) - Crews resumed recovery efforts Friday at a remote site in southeast Alaska where a sightseeing plane crashed, killing all nine people aboard.
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Crews resumed recovery efforts Friday at a remote site in southeast Alaska where a sightseeing plane crashed, killing all nine people aboard.
Eight cruise ship passengers and their pilot died when the DeHavilland DHC-3 Otter turboprop went down on Thursday in Misty Fjords National Monument near Ketchikan. The cause of the crash remained under investigation.
The identities of those on the plane were being withheld as authorities worked to notify their families.
Crews planned to land aircraft near the crash site on an 800-foot cliff above Ella Lake then hike to the wreckage. The terrain is steep, muddy and slippery, said Chris John of the Ketchikan Volunteer Rescue Squad.
He said the plane was sitting at a steep angle and crews will have to stabilize the body of the aircraft. The fuselage was largely intact but the wings and tail were separated or heavily deformed, he said.
Wind and rain prevented any recovery after the wreckage of the aircraft was found Thursday against a granite rock face. Winds were not a concern Friday but there was cloud cover.
The National Transportation Safety Board has assembled a team to investigate the crash.
The Coast Guard received a report Thursday that the plane was overdue. An emergency locator transmitter activated and a helicopter pilot later spotted the downed aircraft above the lake about 800 miles southeast of Anchorage.
Promech Air, an airline based in Ketchikan, operated the shore excursion that was offered through Holland America Line. The eight passengers were traveling on the Westerdam on a seven-day cruise that departed Seattle on Saturday.
"We are incredibly distressed by this situation, and our thoughts and prayers are with those onboard the plane and their families," Holland America said in a statement.
The airline echoed those sentiments.
"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," Marcus Sessoms, president of Promech Air, said in a statement.
The ship left Ketchikan Thursday night and was expected back in Seattle on Saturday, a cruise line spokeswoman said.
Promech's website advertises tours of the more than 3,000-square-mile Misty Fjord National Monument in its floatplanes.
"Towering granite cliffs, 1,000-foot waterfalls, lush and remote valleys and serene crystalline lakes make up this incredible landscape," it says.