Five passengers from the Holland America Line cruise ship Nieuw Amsterdam which stopped in Ketchikan on Thursday died in a flight in a sightseeing plane owned by Southeast Aviation LLC in southeast Alaska. All six people on board were killed, the U.S. Coast Guard said. The deceased were not immediately identified. The cruise ship, the Nieuw Amsterdam, was making its last stop before heading back to Seattle. The plane crashed in the area of Misty Fjords National Monument, near Ketchikan. Weather conditions were a cloud ceiling of 900 feet (274.32 meters) with mist and light rain. Visibility was 2 miles (3.22 kilometers) and winds were 8 mph (12.87 kph), the Coast Guard said.The Alaska State Troopers and volunteers from the Ketchikan Volunteer Rescue Squad coordinated recovery efforts Thursday and Friday. “The float plane excursion was offered by an independent tour operator and not sold by Holland America Line,” a statement said.
At Misty Fjords National Monument visitors can see glacier valleys, snow-capped peaks and lakes in the wilderness area. The National Transportation Safety Boardand the FAA opened an investigation of the incident. Ketchikan is a popular stop for cruise ships visiting Alaska, and cruise ship passengers can take various sightseeing excursions while in port.