Search suspended for nine people presumed dead in Washington floatplane crash: Coast Guard


(WHIDBEY ISLAND, Wash.) — A search for nine people presumed dead after a floatplane crashed in Washington’s Puget Sound was suspended on Monday, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.

The Coast Guard called off the search around noon local time after conducting 26 search sorties it said covered about 2,100 square nautical miles.

“It is always difficult when it comes time to make a decision to stop searching,” said Capt. Daniel Broadhurst, the incident management branch chief for the 13th Coast Guard District. “The hearts of all the first responders go out to those who lost a family member, a loved one or a friend in the crash.”

The de Havilland DHC-3 Otter float plane crashed in Mutiny Bay off Whidbey Island around 3:10 p.m. local time Sunday, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

There were 10 people onboard, nine adults and one child, the U.S. Coast Guard said.

The Coast Guard recovered the body of one person, the branch’s Pacific Northwest division wrote on Twitter Sunday evening. The Coast Guard said Monday that search-and-rescue crews found no signs of the others.

At the time it was suspended, rescue crews were focusing on Mutiny Bay, west of Whidbey Island, according to the Coast Guard.

“The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board will investigate,” the FAA said. “The NTSB will be in charge of the investigation and will provide additional updates.”

The NTSB said on Twitter Monday that it is sending a seven-member team to investigate the crash.

The plane was traveling from Friday Harbor on San Juan Island to Renton Municipal Airport near Seattle when it crashed, the USCG said, with the cause of the crash unknown at this time. The Coast Guard had initially said the plane was traveling from Friday Harbor to Seattle Tacoma International Airport, which it later corrected.

The Coast Guard responded to a report of the crash that was initially said to have eight adults and one child onboard, according to USCG Pacific Northwest. The USCG later corrected its statement, saying there were 10 people unaccounted for in the crash.

South Whidbey Fire/EMS said that its crew was at the scene near the west side of Whidbey Island.

ABC News’ Marilyn Heck, Teddy Grant and Michelle Stoddart contributed to this report.

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