British Columbia

Alaska sightseeing plane crashed amid 'marginal' visual conditions: NTSB

A sightseeing plane that crashed last month in Alaska killing all nine on board was flying in "marginal" visual conditions marked by rain and patches of low clouds before hitting a mountain.

All 9 people on board were killed, including 8 cruise ship tourists

All nine people on board were killed in the crash. A federal accident report released on Tuesday, July 7, 2015, says the sightseeing floatplane was equipped with technology to provide better information about the terrain. (NTSB/Associated Press)

A sightseeing plane that crashed last month in Alaska killing all nine on board was flying in "marginal" visual conditions marked by rain and patches of low clouds before hitting a mountain, U.S. federal investigators said on Tuesday.

The DeHavilland DHC-3 Otter float plane crashed on June 25 during a tour of the Misty Fjords area near Ella Lake, about 39 kilometres northeast of Ketchikan, a popular summertime cruise destination.

The plane, operated by Promech Air, was returning to its base under "marginal visual meteorological conditions," according to a preliminary report by the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board released on Tuesday.

The report did not draw conclusions or assess blame for the crash. The agency says a comprehensive review of the plane will be conducted once it is recovered from the crash site and taken to Ketchikan.

Promech Air did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The plane struck a tree nose up and rested upright on top of the separated floats, the report and investigator photographs of the crash showed. All eight passengers and the pilot were killed.

The wreckage was lodged in a remote cliffside hundreds of metres above a mountain lake. (NTSB/Associated Press)

The report, citing weather data from the nearest reporting facility about 39 kilometres from the crash site, said the wind was gusting to 42 km/h, with broken clouds at 370 metres and overcast conditions at 820 metres.

The crash site's remote location, low visibility from clouds and fog, and the plane's precarious position on the side of the steep rock face delayed the recovery of the bodies until the following day.

The flight, an excursion booked via a cruise ship, was sold through Holland America Line, a unit of Carnival Corp, which has since stopped selling the flights.

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