Plane Crash Kills Five Sightseers, Pilot

An airplane taking cruise-ship passengers on a sightseeing tour crashed Friday into the side of a mountain, killing the pilot and all five tourists.

Wreckage from the single-engine Piper Cherokee was strewn down the mountainside after the 3 p.m. crash near Pyramid Harbor, about 80 miles northwest of Juneau.

The plane, owned by the LAB Flying Service, was giving a sightseeing tour to five passengers from the cruise Ship Sea Spirit, state Trooper Don Otis said. The names of the victims were held pending notification of relatives.

Authorities have not determined what caused the crash, but weather did not appear to have been a factor, Otis said.

Rescuers used chain saws to

clear an area near the wreck so the bodies could be removed by a Coast Guard helicopter.

“There’s some concern that parts of the airplane could come sliding down. … We’re trying to clear things to make it a little bit safer for the rescuers,” said U.S. Coast Guard Lt. Randy Moseng.

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