Wreckage found of crashed floatplane in Washington state
The wreckage from a floatplane that crashed in Washington state last week with 10 people on board — among them “Smash” star Megan Hilty’s family — has been found on the sea floor, officials said.
The National Transportation Safety Board said the depth and swift underwater currents kept the debris hidden from view for several days in the Puget Sound, The Seattle Times reported.
Sonar located a “large section” similar in length and width to the 55-year-old de Havilland Canada DHC-3 Otter about 190 feet below the surface near Whidbey Island, according to spokesperson Jennifer Gabris.
Investigators, the National Oceanic at Atmospheric Administration and the University of Washington’s Applied Physics Laboratory scoured a 1.75-by-0.75-mile area where witnesses said the plane had splashed down on Sept. 4.
Because of the depth and 3-5 knot currents, the NTSB is seeking a remotely operated vehicle to recover the wreckage.
The NTSB had said that crash details, including the cause of the crash, couldn’t be determined until more of the wreckage was found and brought to the surface.
Some items from the site have been recovered, including foam fragments from the plane’s floats, a seat cushion, a seatbelt, paperwork, bits of flooring and some personal items from the victims, news station KING5 reported.
Ten people were on the doomed flight from Friday Harbor in the San Juan Islands to the Seattle suburb of Renton. The only body that has been recovered was identified last week as Gabby Hanna, of Seattle.
The US Coast Guard last week named the missing and presumed dead plane occupants as pilot Jason Winters, winery owner Ross Andrew Mickel, his pregnant wife, Lauren Hilty, and their son Remy Mickel.
Mickel was the founder of Woodinville-based Ross Andrew Winery. His wife, Lauren, was actress Megan Hilty’s younger sister.
The “Wicked” star mourned her loss on Instagram last week, revealing that her sister was eight months pregnant with a baby boy at the time of her death, and that Lauren and her husband are survived by their young daughter, who was not on the plane.
“The last three days have been the worst of our lives. There are truly no words to appropriately convey the depth of our grief,” she wrote.
The crash also claimed the life of prominent local activist Sandy Williams, and passengers Joanne Mera, Patricia Hicks, Luke Ludwig and Rebecca Ludwig.
With Post Wires