U.S. officials say patrol boat crews searched through the night for the remaining nine passengers following a float plane crash, but did not find anyone.
In a tweet, the U.S. Coast Guard 13th District Pacific Northwest says crews have suspended the active search for the remaining nine people.
“All next of kin have been notified of this decision,” the tweet says. “Our hearts go out to the families, loved ones and friends of those who remain missing and the deceased.”
(1/2) The Coast Guard has suspended its active search for the remaining nine missing individuals effective at noon. Coast Guard assets completed 26 search sorites, covering 1,283 linear nautical miles and saturating an area of more than 2100 sq. nautical miles.
— USCGPacificNorthwest (@USCGPacificNW) September 5, 2022
Lt. Stephen Nolan, public relations officer with the 13th Coast Guard District tells CHEK News the search was called off for a number of reasons.
“A minimum amount of debris was recovered, but it indicated that it was a large crash,” Nolan said. “That was part of the factors that led to the decision, along with environmental factors such as the temperature of the water, the survivability rate, the time searching, that led to the Coast Guard deciding to suspend the search.”
Nolan says factors that play into the survivability rate include water temperature, what the individual was wearing when they entered the water, and the will to survive. He says will to survive may be lower for people involved in a plane crash, compared to if someone were to fall off a boat.
He says the National Transportation Safety Board will be conducting an investigation into the cause of the crash. A Coast Guard underwater remotely operated vehicle and a drone will continue to assist the NTSB in searching for wreckage and debris for the next few hours.
Coast Guard policy is to not release identifying details about the deceased until 24 hours after the next of kin are notified, so Nolan says the information about the person who was found deceased, as well as information about passengers on the plane will not be released until Tuesday morning.
In total, the Coast Guard conducted 26 search sorties, searching 1,283 nautical miles of track line covering an area of approximately 2,100 square nautical miles.
On Sunday, the Coast Guard said one person is confirmed dead and nine are unaccounted for after a float plane crashed in Mutiny Bay, west of Whidbey Island.
Jon Beck, deputy chief with South Whidbey Fire, told CHEK News on Sunday that one deceased person has been recovered from the water. He says the condition of the other passengers is not yet known.
The initial report came in around 3:10 p.m. Sunday, according to Beck, who notes the plane departed Friday Harbour on San Juan Island earlier in the day.
It was en route to Seattle Tacoma International Airport when it crashed with 10 people on board, including nine adults and one child.
South Whidbey Fire and EMS marine crews and other rescue units, including the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG), are responding to the scene.
“A surface safety zone has been placed around the scene of the crash,” USCG Pacific Northwest said in a tweet. “Search updates will be provided as they become available.”
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.
SWFE Crews area on scene off of the west side of Whidbey Island for a Sea Plane crash. US Coast Guard surface and air units have arrived and will be handling the incident and further news updates.
— SouthWhidbeyFire/EMS (@SWFEMS) September 4, 2022
— USCGPacificNorthwest (@USCGPacificNW) September 4, 2022