10 Presumed Dead in Washington State Floatplane Crash

One body found, search for 9 others, including child, called off
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 5, 2022 12:21 AM CDT
Updated Sep 6, 2022 12:20 AM CDT
9 Missing, 1 Confirmed Dead After Floatplane Crashes in Puget Sound
A Coast Guard helicopter searches the area where a floatplane crashed near Whidbey Island, Wash., Sunday, Sept. 4, 2022.   (Courtney Riffkin/The Seattle Times via AP)

Update: The US Coast Guard suspended the search Monday afternoon for nine people, including a child, who were missing after a floatplane crashed in the waters of Puget Sound northwest of Seattle, the AP reports. The body of a 10th person, an unidentified female, was recovered by a Good Samaritan on Sunday after the crash was reported at 3:11pm, Scott Giard, director of the US Coast Guard's search and rescue for the Pacific Northwest, said at a news conference. Just after noon on Monday, the Coast Guard said it was suspending the search for survivors after “saturating an area” of more than 2,100 square nautical miles (nearly 2,800 square miles). All 10 people aboard are presumed to have died in the crash, Fox 13 Seattle reports. Our original story from Monday follows:

One person was killed and nine people remained missing, including a child, after a floatplane crashed Sunday afternoon in Puget Sound in Washington state, the US Coast Guard said. The agency said in a press release the plane was flying from Friday Harbor, a popular tourist destination in the San Juan Islands, to Renton, a southern suburb of Seattle, the AP reports. Four Coast Guard vessels, a rescue helicopter, and an aircraft were involved in the extensive search, along with nearby rescue and law enforcement agencies. The crash was reported at 3:11pm. The Coast Guard said one body had been recovered and nine people were still missing as of around 9pm. The cause of the crash is unknown, authorities said.

The plane went down in Mutiny Bay off Whidbey Island, roughly 30 miles northwest of downtown Seattle and about halfway between Friday Harbor and Renton. The National Transportation Safety Board said the plane was a de Havilland DHC-3 Otter, a single-engine propeller plane. Floatplanes, which have pontoons allowing them to land on water, are a common sight around Puget Sound, an inlet of the Pacific Ocean. There are multiple, daily flights between the Seattle area and the San Juan Islands, a scenic archipelago northwest of Seattle that draws tourists from around the world.

These aircraft, which also fly between Seattle and Vancouver, British Columbia, frequently travel over Seattle and land in Lake Washington, not far from the city's iconic Space Needle. Renton, where authorities say the flight was headed Sunday, is at the southern tip of Lake Washington, about 10 miles southeast of Seattle. In 2019, a midair crash in Alaska between two sightseeing floatplanes killed six people. The Ketchikan-based floatplanes were carrying passengers from the same cruise ship, the Royal Princess, and were returning from tours of Misty Fjords National Monument.

(Read more Washington state stories.)

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