NTSB recommends new safety measures for Ketchikan flightseeing tours

aerial view of clouds over forest
A picture captured by a passenger aboard a floatplane that crashed in Misty Fjords National Monument on Aug. 5, 2021 killing all six occupants, two minutes before the last signal received from the plane. (From NTSB)

Federal accident investigators say the government should issue regulations to improve the safety of air tours in part of Alaska where seven sightseeing planes have crashed since 2007, killing 31 people.

The National Transportation Safety Board said Tuesday that the Federal Aviation Administration should tighten rules about minimum visibility during flights and require more weather training for pilots who fly around Ketchikan. The coastal area near the southern tip of Alaska is known for mountainous terrain and quickly changing weather.

“There have been too many air tour tragedies in Ketchikan, a place with unique — but well understood — safety hazards that endanger the lives of pilots and passengers alike,” board Chair Jennifer Homendy said in a statement. “Unless the FAA acts swiftly, experience tells us to expect even more heartbreak and preventable loss of life.”

RELATED: Searching for solutions to Alaska’s high rate of deadly air crashes

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