Two people died Monday afternoon when the plane they were in crashed into Metlakatla Harbor, Alaska, a week after another deadly crash nearby involving the same operator.
The Ketchikan Gateway Borough confirmed on its Facebook page that "a pilot and a single passenger" died in the crash of the de Havilland Beaver floatplane operated by Taquan Air, reports CBS Anchorage affiliate KTVA-TV.
The names of the deceased were being withheld pending notification of their next of kin.
"Good Samaritans have the aircraft in tow and are bringing the Beaver to the beach until it can be secured," borough officials wrote.
Last week, a midair collision of sightseeing planes near Ketchikan left six people dead. The aircraft in that incident were operated by Taquan Air and Mountain Air Service.
A Taquan spokesperson referred all media queries Monday evening to the National Transportation Safety Board.
The agency told CBS News it "dispatched investigators from its Anchorage Regional Office to investigate. While owned by the same operator involved in the May 13, 2019, mid-air collision, this plane was not on sightseeing flight, it was a commuter flight. It is unusual for an operator to have two accidents in a short time but that alone does not infer there is a safety issue with the company, their pilots or type of aircraft."
Clint Johnson, the NTSB's Alaska chief, told KTVA the commuter flight was from Ketchikan to Metlakatla.
"There were a number of people that actually witnessed the accident, so our investigator is obviously going to be centering in on interviewing those witnesses when she arrives in on scene, hopefully early tomorrow morning," Johnson said.
Asked about the proximity of last week's crash and Monday's in both time and space, with Ketchikan and Metlakatla just 8 nautical miles apart, Johnson couldn't immediately recall any similar precedents for two fatal Alaska crashes involving the same carrier.
"Obviously it's a unique situation, and coming just on the heels of a major accident investigation," Johnson said. "However, I have to stress that each one of these accidents will be investigated to the detail that each one needs, but they are two separate accidents and that's the way that they'll be investigated: as separate accidents. We may draw parallels as we get into the analysis portion, but at this point keep in mind that we are just gathering information — just the factual information."
Taquan suspended scheduled flights on May 14 after the Ketchikan crash, according to its Facebook page, but resumed them along with flightseeing tours and chartered flights on May 17.