5 Holland America Nieuw Amsterdam cruise ship passengers died in an Alaskan floatplane crash

   August 6, 2021 ,   Accidents

On August 5, 2021, while the Nieuw Amsterdam cruise ship was docked in Ketchikan AK, a total of 6 people died in a floatplane crash accident. Among those were the pilot and 5 HAL cruise passengers (from Nieuw Amsterdam).

The USCG was alerted by another sightseeing plane flying in the area. USCG Air Station Sitka immediately launched a search and rescue operation to the crash site, approx 8 mi (13 km) northeast of Ketchikan. The operation was assisted by Alaska Wildlife Troopers, State Troopers, US Forest Service personnel, and Ketchikan Volunteer Rescue Squad.

The aircraft’s emergency locator/radio beacon activated at ~11:19 am AKST (3:19 UTC) in the Misty Fjords area. The accident occurred while the tour plane was returning from Misty Fjords back to Ketchikan.

The plane wreckage was found by the USCG's rescue helicopter at 2:37 pm (6:37 UTC), lying on a ridgeline in a very "steep mountainous area". Coast Guard's MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew lowered two rescue swimmers who found no survivors. The bodies of all the 6 dead were aboard the plane.

The crashed floatplane was owned and operated by the Alaskan flightseeing tour company Southeast Aviation LLC.

Holland America Line ship MS Nieuw Amsterdam

HAL-Holland America Line announced that the 5 passengers booked the flight tour in Ketchikan and not thru HAL.

MS Nieuw Amsterdam was operating a 7-day "Alaskan Explorer" itinerary roundtrip from Seattle WA (July 31 - Aug 7) with call ports Juneau (Aug 2), Glacier Bay and Icy Strait Point (Hoonah, Aug 3), Sitka ((Aug 4) and Ketchikan (Aug 5, port stay 7 am - 4 pm).

For more MS Nieuw Amsterdam accidents and incidents see the ship's CruiseMinus page.