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An excursion plane carrying sightseers from a Holland America Line cruise ship has crashed in south-east Alaska, with all nine on board killed including the pilot. Reports said wreckage was located on a rocky cliff face about 800ft (240 metres) above a lake after the plane was reported missing on Thursday afternoon. Search and rescue crews were sent.

The crash occurred near Ella Lake, about 20 miles (30 km) north-east of the town of Ketchikan, the Seattle-based cruise company said in a statement. “We have nine fatalities,” said Clint Johnson, head of the National Transportation Safety Board’s Alaska office. Rain and wind forced an end to recovery efforts on Thursday night in the rugged terrain about 20 miles north-east of Ketchikan, south-east Alaska. Officials would mount a recovery attempt again on Friday, he said. The eight passengers were guests from the Westerdam, a ship on a seven-day cruise that departed Seattle on Saturday. Promech Air, an airline based in Ketchikan, operated the air excursion sold through Holland America Line, the cruise ship company said in a statement. The pilot was among the dead.

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