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Nine killed in Alaska plane crash

An excursion plane flying over the Alaskan fjords has gone down, killing everyone on board. The flight was part of a voyage for the Holland America cruise line.

All eight passengers and the pilot were killed when a sightseeing plane crashed in the Misty Fjords area of Alaska on Thursday, the aircraft company Promech Air confirmed.

In a statement, the company announced that the plane went down during an excursion in connection with the Holland America cruise line, a subsidiary of Carnival Corporation. The incident occurred near Ella Lake, approximately 20 miles (32 km) northeast of the town of Ketchikan in southern Alaska.

"There is nothing I can say that can alleviate the pain and overwhelming sense of loss that we, and the loved ones of those affected, are feeling," said Promech Air's president, Marcus Sessoms.

The plane was found on the rock face about 800 feet (240 meters) above the lake, according to Alaska State Troopers. Public safety officials said the recovery of the bodies would not begin until Friday due to "inclement weather."

The Westerdam cruise ship left Seattle on Saturday. Excursions such as sightseeing flights and dogsled rides are popular side-trips often sold in conjunction with Alaskan cruises.

The National Transportation Safety Board said it was sending a team to investigate the crash of the DHC-3 Otter aircraft. The names of the victims were not announced publicly in order to give authorities time to notify their families.

es/msh (AFP, Reuters)

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