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Pilot saw flash just before Alaska midair collision: Report

Last Updated May 22, 2019 at 12:56 pm PDT

The single-engine de Havilland Otter DHC-3 involved in a crash with another float plane over the George Inlet near Ketchickan, Alaska. (Photo Courtesy the U.S. Coast Guard)

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — A preliminary report says a pilot saw a flash on his left side just before his plane collided another plane in Alaska, killing six people.

The National Transportation Safety Board says in the report released Wednesday that the two planes carrying Alaska cruise ship passengers were returning from a flightseeing tour of Misty Fjords National Monument when the collision occurred May 13 northeast of Ketchikan.

The pilot and all four passengers of the smaller plane, a de Havilland DHC-2 Beaver, were among those who died. Nine passengers in the larger de Havilland DHC-3 Otter were seriously injured, and one died.

The surviving Otter pilot, who sustained minor injuries, told investigators the flight had proceeded normally until he descended and was manoeuvring the plane to show passengers a waterfall when the collision occurred.