The US Coast Guard is calling off its search for nine people, including a child, missing in a seaplane crash off Whidbey Island, Washington, bringing the death toll to 10. File photo released with the courtesy of wikidata.
September 5 (UPI) — The U.S. Coast Guard suspended its search for survivors on Monday after it failed to locate nine people, including a child, missing in a seaplane crash in Washington state’s Puget Sound, raising the death toll to 10.
The plane, which had left Friday Harbor in the San Juan Islands on Sunday with 10 people on board, was bound for Renton, Wash., when it crashed near Whidbey Island about halfway through its route 50 minutes.
The Coast Guard recovered a body on Sunday and spent much of Monday “saturating an area” of nearly 2,800 square miles with ships, helicopters and planes to track down the other nine passengers before calling off the search. .
“All next of kin have been informed of this decision,” the Coast Guard tweeted. “Our hearts go out to the families, loved ones and friends of those still missing and those who have passed away.”
“The cause of the incident is unknown at this time,” the Coast Guard said. The NTSB will continue its investigation.
“For some reason he went right to waterdidn’t even attempt to land, went straight down into the water,” South Whidbey Fire & Rescue Deputy Chief of Operations Terry Ney told KIRO-TV. “At this point, we don’t expect to find any survivors. .”
The Coast Guard said Puget Sound Command Center observers received a report Sunday that a seaplane with nine adults and a child on board crashed in Mutiny Bay, west of the island. from Whidbey and north of Seattle, around 3:10 p.m.
The National Transportation Safety Board has identified the single-engine seaplane as a DHC-3 Turbine Otter. The planes can carry up to 10 passengers with a crew of two and are a common sight over Puget Sound where daily flights shuttle between Seattle’s Lake Washington and the San Juan Islands.
Flightradar 24, which tracks air traffic, said the last signal it received from the 55-year-old plane was around 3:08 p.m. when it was at an altitude of 100ft above the bay.
The plane is currently about 200 feet deep in water, according to South Whidbey Fire.
Northwest Seaplanes, which owned the plane, released a statement on Monday saying the company “heartbroken“about the accident.
“We don’t yet know details regarding the cause of the accident. We are working with the FAA, NTSB and Coast Guard,” the company said on Instagram.
“We are praying for the families involved, including our pilot and his family.”