Alaska floatplane operator suspends flights after second deadly crash in a week

The Alaskan air carrier involved this month in a pair of fatal plane crashes that occurred within a week of each other announced Tuesday it was “voluntarily” suspending its services indefinitely.

Taquan Air said in a statement posted to its website that it had suspended all operations “until further notice.” The news came just one day after two passengers died when the de Havilland DHC-2 they were flying in crashed into Metlakatla Harbor.

“As you can imagine the past 24 hours have been incredibly overwhelming and we are reeling from not only the incident yesterday, but also from last week. It’s been a really heavy and heartbreaking time for us,” the statement said. “Our priority has been our passengers and their families and our internal staff, and pilots. We have voluntarily suspended all of our operations until further notice.”

TWO DEAD IN SECOND FLOATPLANE CRASH THIS MONTH INVOLVING TAQUAN AIR, OFFICIALS SAY

Witnesses to Monday's accident told federal investigators one of the two floats on the plane dug into the water during landing, causing the right wing to hit the water and then the aircraft to cartwheel several times, according to Clint Johnson, chief of the National Transportation Safety Board in Alaska. The wing broke off and is missing.

This Monday, May 20, 2019 photo provided by Aerial Leask shows good Samaritans off of fishing vessels attempting to bring in a floatplane that crashed in the harbor of Metlakatla, Alaska. Officials said the pilot and passenger aboard the plane died, and the National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the crash. (Aerial Leask via AP)

This Monday, May 20, 2019 photo provided by Aerial Leask shows good Samaritans off of fishing vessels attempting to bring in a floatplane that crashed in the harbor of Metlakatla, Alaska. Officials said the pilot and passenger aboard the plane died, and the National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the crash. (Aerial Leask via AP)

Those onboard were identified as 51-year-old Ron Rash of Harrisburg, Penn., and California native Sarah Luna, 32.

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Monday's crash followed the May 13 midair collision of a Taquan Air Otter floatplane with another floatplane. Six people died in that crash and another 10 people were injured. Both planes were carrying sightseeing cruise ship passengers.

The National Transportation Safety Board are investigating both crashes as separate incidents.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.