Alaskan floatplane operator suspends operations after 2 crashes in 8 days

An Alaskan floatplane operator says it has voluntarily suspended operations after two of its planes were involved in deadly crashes within eight days this month.

All of Taquan Air's operations will be suspended until further notice, the company said Tuesday.

The decision comes as the National Transportation Safety Board is investigating two crashes:

• On May 13, a Taquan Air floatplane and a second floatplane collided in the air near Ketchikan, Alaska, killing one passenger on the Taquan plane and all five people who were aboard the other plane. Both planes were carrying cruise ship guests on separate excursions.

• On Monday, a Taquan Air floatplane on a commuter flight went down in Metlakatla Harbor south of Ketchikan, killing both people aboard -- a pilot and a passenger.

"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," Taquan Air said in a news release.

"It's been a really heavy and heartbreaking time for us. Our priority has been our passengers and their families and our internal staff, and pilots. ... We are grateful for your patience and the outpouring of community support and we will update you as soon as we have more information to share."

A floatplane has pontoons or floats that allow it to land on water.

Taquan Air, based in Ketchikan, has operated commuter, freight, tour and charter flights serving southeastern Alaska. It generally flew two types of small planes: the several-passenger de Havilland Beaver and the 10-passenger de Havilland Otter.

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