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idahospud

Royal Princess Passengers Involved in Plane Crash

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Flightseeing areas have always been problematic as you have multiple aircraft in tight uncontrolled air spaces. There is no technology to manage multiple aircraft in these spaces (especially at low altitudes) and the aircraft are not equipped with expensive collision warning systems. Hawaii Volcanoes, DisneyWorld, etc.  have similar issues.  These flights were operating under Visual Flight Rules (VFR) in uncontrolled space. A VFR pilot is responsible to see all around clearly to avoid obstacles and other aircraft.  It will not surprise me if the NTSB finds that the larger aircraft descended unsafely to collide with the smaller aircraft which is reported to have been in straight level flight.  Yes it's only my hypothesis, but it seems likely based on what is known.

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I am trying to wrap my head around their last moments.  If both planes were around 3300 feet,  did the plane with survivors essentially glide with a hard land on the water?  I cannot fathom anybody falling from 3300 feet and surviving, let alone the frigid water issue.

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@idahospud thanks very much for sharing your onboard information with us.  We are currently in Alaksa on a land tour and will be boarding the Royal on Saturday.  My thoughts are with everyone on the ship and their families.  

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The care Princess has shown is in no way surprising. We have cruised many times with Princess. Fifteen years ago, I had planned an Alaska Cruise and Land Tour for my parents with Princess. During the beginning of their cruise, my Dad became gravely ill. The team at Princess were simply amazing and went so far out of their way to help my parents and to keep me informed in California. They ended up having to airlift my Dad out of Ketchikan. They arranged for literally everything, and on top of that, kept in communication with me every 2 hours to give me progress reports. They accompanied my Mom and arranged a local person to meet me at SFO. They treated my parents as though they were their own family through their entire crisis. This is why all of my cruises have been and will always be with Princess. They truly do care.

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6 minutes ago, zalusky said:

I am trying to wrap my head around their last moments.  If both planes were around 3300 feet,  did the plane with survivors essentially glide with a hard land on the water?  I cannot fathom anybody falling from 3300 feet and surviving, let alone the frigid water issue.

Flying altitudes are given above sea level but I don’t know what the ground level altitude is at the crash site.  For example if the water’s altitude was 1000’ above sea level (the ocean) they were 2300’ above the water.

 

It’s been previously reported that the smaller Beaver appeared to have broken up in flight with wreckage about 900’ apart.  As I recall the planes hit the water over a mile apart which would indicate to me that the larger Otter may have had less damage & had more controllability.  Lacking details about the damage to each plane from the midair collision it’s impossible to know how they crashed into the water.

 

I feel the same as PelicanBill that the larger Otter descended to collide with the smaller Beaver.  Lacking the rate of descent from 3800’ to 3300’ we don’t know the time frame...was it a slow or a rapid descent by the Otter.  Photos of Otters with the turboprop modification show a extension of the nose of the airplane which would further limit the pilot’s view below.

 

As PelicanBill wrote pilots are responsible for collision avoidance however based on the preliminary details this may truly be a tragic accident.  There is always a chain of events that result in a crash & it’ll take a long time before the NTSB publishes a report about the probable cause for this tragedy.

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Such devastating news; I know many of us have done this excursions in Alaska before and felt perfectly safe.  Prayers are  with all the families. Latest update: 

WATCH: B.C. woman among 6 dead in Alaskan floatplane crash

- A A +

A 37-year-old Richmond, B.C. woman was among the six people killed in the Alaskafloatplane crash Monday, Alaskan state troopers have confirmed.

The death toll was initially reported as four, with two people missing. U.S. Coast Guard spokesperson Brian Dykens confirmed to Global News that the bodies of the two missing people were recovered Tuesday night.

The bodies recovered belonged to a Canadian and an Australian. Dykens said the other four victims were all American.

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2 minutes ago, burrma said:

On Tuesday night, Alaska state troopers released the names of the victims, including of 37-year-old Richmond, B.C. resident Elsa Wilk.

The other victims were pilot Randy Sullivan, 46, from Ketchikan, Simon Bodie, 56, from Australia and  Cassandra Webb, 62, Ryan Wilk, 39, and Louis Botha, 46, all from the continental U.S.

 

 

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34 minutes ago, Astro Flyer said:

Flying altitudes are given above sea level but I don’t know what the ground level altitude is at the crash site.  For example if the water’s altitude was 1000’ above sea level (the ocean) they were 2300’ above the water.

 

 

The ocean is at sea level. Think about that for a moment.

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3 hours ago, zalusky said:

I am trying to wrap my head around their last moments.  If both planes were around 3300 feet,  did the plane with survivors essentially glide with a hard land on the water?  I cannot fathom anybody falling from 3300 feet and surviving, let alone the frigid water issue.

 

It's almost certain that to have so many exit the plane and survive, the pilot must have made a controlled (or mostly controlled) landing on the water.  The survivors have a riveting story to tell.

 

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21 minutes ago, oskidunker said:

Did the pilot survive?

The pilot of the Otter (the larger plane) survived. Amazingly, only one passenger on his plane died. All those on the plane it collided with, died.

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34 minutes ago, oskidunker said:

Did the pilot survive?

 

The pilot of the Mountain Air Service plane, Randy, unfortunately did not survive.

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2 hours ago, bemis12 said:

 

The ocean is at sea level. Think about that for a moment.

 

Duh. That is not what he was referring to. Not all water is at sea level 🙂

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54 minutes ago, frugaltravel said:

 

Duh. That is not what he was referring to. Not all water is at sea level 🙂

Nowhere has it been suggested that the planes came down over a lake. The reports say they crashed near "George Inlet" which is open to the sea and therefore at sea level.

Edited by Aus Traveller

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Our hearts go out all those affected by the terrible tragedy in Ketchikan. God bless those who have passed away and our thoughts and prayers are with their families and friends.

We hope everyone injured will make a full and speedy recovery.

We send our love to all passengers and crew aboard the Royal Princess.

We are part of the Princess community and have sailed on the Royal Princess twice.

 

 

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Thanks to everyone who posted to share information, especially Idahospuds.

 

I am just wondering if the Royal Princess left a bit too soon after this terrible tragedy. Should the ship have stayed longer in Ketchikan while rescue teams were still searching for survivors?

 

God bless everyone affected by this terrible tragedy.

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On 5/13/2019 at 8:42 PM, cristine said:

Prayers to all involved.

Ditto 🙏🏻   Awful  tragedy .

Tony

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1 hour ago, mikey 5 m's said:

Thanks to everyone who posted to share information, especially Idahospuds.

 

I am just wondering if the Royal Princess left a bit too soon after this terrible tragedy. Should the ship have stayed longer in Ketchikan while rescue teams were still searching for survivors?

 

God bless everyone affected by this terrible tragedy.

Tough call. I think by the time they left, there were two missing passengers. Their plane had broken up in mid-air and they were missing in near-freezing water for a few hours. There would have been no chance that they were still alive.

 

I suppose Princess had to consider the other 3,500 passengers who paid for a cruise to Alaska, although I am sure they would have understood if they had to miss their next port. The Royal Princess was still able to make it into Juneau, although later than planned.

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13 hours ago, PelicanBill said:

Flightseeing areas have always been problematic as you have multiple aircraft in tight uncontrolled air spaces. There is no technology to manage multiple aircraft in these spaces (especially at low altitudes) and the aircraft are not equipped with expensive collision warning systems. Hawaii Volcanoes, DisneyWorld, etc.  have similar issues.  These flights were operating under Visual Flight Rules (VFR) in uncontrolled space. A VFR pilot is responsible to see all around clearly to avoid obstacles and other aircraft.  It will not surprise me if the NTSB finds that the larger aircraft descended unsafely to collide with the smaller aircraft which is reported to have been in straight level flight.  Yes it's only my hypothesis, but it seems likely based on what is known.

My husband has the same hypothesis, Pelican Bill.  

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12 hours ago, zalusky said:

I am trying to wrap my head around their last moments.  If both planes were around 3300 feet,  did the plane with survivors essentially glide with a hard land on the water?  I cannot fathom anybody falling from 3300 feet and surviving, let alone the frigid water issue.

Judging from what the recent USA article posted here, it does look like the larger plane crashed down onto the smaller plane, breaking it apart in places, while the larger aircraft landed in the water and sank. 

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I've just posted a new update on my blog. I hope you don't mind I've just copied and pasted it here. If you want the direct link to the update for sharing purposes, email me at cruisingandcrafting at gmail dot com.

 

May 16 Royal Princess Accident Update

I thought I'd update you on what's been happening on the Royal Princess these last few days since the tragic float plane accident in Ketchikan. If you missed my previous update, you can find it here.
  • We've now finished all three ports of Ketchikan, Juneau, and Skagway. We have Glacier Bay coming up today, College Fjord tomorrow, and then the cruise will end in Whittier on Saturday.
  • Most guests have now returned to enjoying their time aboard and ashore. The mood of the ship has lightened as people are going about their vacation. 
  • This incident has made many stop and think about the fragility of life. For the first day or two we overheard comments reflecting those internal struggles. As our cruise has progressed, those types of conversations have diminished. As passengers continue to learn more about the latest crash findings we're finding more people shifting their conversations to highly speculative talk about the details of the accident itself.
  • I continue to avoid the news, read anything online about the accident, or engage anyone in any conversation about it. We've had to pick up and leave an area more than once to distance ourselves from inappropriate comments. I understand people grieve in different ways, but in some cases I'm seeing it as more gossip and less grieving. One of the Encouraging Words Project notes I left yesterday said spread love everywhere you go. I found those words to be difficult to live by when a lady in the elevator shared some unsolicited and insensitive comments with me about the victims. While we no longer have family members of the victims onboard, I still find some of these comments and conversations to be disrespectful to them.
  • I have received many emails from people around the world expressing kind and supportive words. I do so appreciate them. I've also heard from people who have flown with the pilots and planes involved in the accidents. While they might not be currently aboard the ship, there are many people out there whose hearts are breaking over this incident.
  • So you know, I have been contacted by the media about the accident after they discovered my blog updates. I certainly don't want to be part of any perceived hysteria or drama over another cruise ship "disaster" so I told them all basically the same thing -  I'd be more than happy to answer any questions they may have via email and they were welcome to share blog update information for their reporting, but I was not interested in being on TV or having my voice part of a newscast. That ended any interest they had in my participation. While I'm more than happy to share a factual account, if they want someone looking for their 15 minutes of fame they are looking in the wrong place.
  • And most important of all...Personnel on this ship have gone above and beyond to make guests feel safe, validated, and supported. It has been extremely difficult for ship personnel. They too are wrestling with fragility of life thoughts, yet every day they put on a brave face to make sure guest needs are met first. Kudos to their professionalism, words of wisdom, and authenticity. Please keep them in your thoughts, too. While passengers will go home and resume their regular lives, this incident will imprint on the souls of the cruise staff. 
On a side note, thank you for allowing me to share my experiences with the tragic events aboard the Royal Princess. I will continue to blog throughout my trips, but hope I won't ever have to report on something so devastating again. I do apologize for getting a bit more opinionated in this update. As much as I like to be encouraging and supportive and think you should spread love everywhere you go, I sometimes find it hard when some of those around me seem to be doing quite the opposite. 
 
Stay safe, stay healthy, and take care of yourselves and each other,
Deb

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Many thanks to Idahospuds for your updates. You are a caring and kind person. 

 

Our love and our thoughts are with all the passengers and crew of the Royal Princess.

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