Two dead after float plane crashes in Alaska

The pilot and passenger were the only people on board, the Ketchikan Gateway Borough said.

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By Phil Helsel

A pilot and a passenger are dead after the float plane they were in crashed in a harbor near Ketchikan, Alaska, on Monday, authorities said.

They were the only people on board the Taquan Beaver Floatplane when it crashed in Metlakatla Harbor around 4 p.m., Ketchikan Gateway Borough officials said in a statement. Metlakatla is south of Ketchikan.

The National Transportation Safety Board said Monday's flight was a commuter flight.

Police identified the pilot as Ron Rash, 51, from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. His passenger was a 31-year-old epidemiologist Sarah Luna, the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium (ANTHC) confirmed Tuesday. Luna was an epidemiologist working with the ANTCH.

The circumstances of the crash were not immediately released by the joint information center, which a spokeswoman said is made up of Ketchikan Rescue Squad, The Metlakatla Volunteer Fire Department and the Coast Guard.

A week ago, another Taquan Air float plane was involved in a deadly crash. A mid-air collision on May 13 killed six people near Ketchikan, in the far southeastern part of the state.

The planes were carrying passengers from a cruise ship, officials have said. The Taquan Air plane had 10 passengers and a pilot on board, and one passenger died, the company has said.

The other plane was a Mountain Air plane with five people aboard, including the pilot, officials have said.

Ten people were rescued after that collision.

The NTSB said it will investigate Monday's crash. The agency had already launched a team to investigate last week's mid-air collision.