Coast Guard suspends search for 9 missing in float plane crash

Coast Guard Air Station Sacramento C-27J aircraft file photo by Lt. Scott Handlin

Coast Guard Air Station Sacramento C-27J Spartan file photo by Lt. Scott Handlin

SEATTLE – The Coast Guard has suspended active searches at 12:00 p.m. Monday for the missing individuals from the crash of a floatplane in Mutiny Bay off Whidbey Island pending further developments.

Shortly after 3:30 p.m. on Sunday, watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Puget Sound were notified that a float plane carrying 10 people, including one child, had crashed into the waters off Whidbey Island. Good Samaritans and first responders were first on scene and recovered one deceased individual. The plane, which was owned by Northwest Seaplanes and operated by Friday Harbor Seaplanes, had departed Friday Harbor around 2:50 p.m. and was bound for Renton Municipal Airport when the crash occurred.

The Coast Guard and multiple local partner agencies, including local county sheriffs, South Whidbey Island Fire & EMS, and a helicopter from Naval Air Station Whidbey Island all searched Sunday afternoon. Assets from the Coast Guard involved in the search included the 87-foot Coast Guard Cutters Osprey and Blue Shark, a 45-foot Response Boat-Medium and crew from Station Seattle, an RB-M crew from Station Port Angeles, an MH-65 Dolphin rescue helicopter crew from Air Station Port Angeles, and a C-27J fixed-wing aircraft and crew from Air Station Sacramento, California.

The two Coast Guard cutters remained on scene overnight and continued the search. Aircrews resumed searching Monday morning shortly after sunrise. 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.

“It is always difficult when it comes time to make a decision to stop searching,” said Capt. Daniel Broadhurst, 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 National Transportation Safety Board will be investigating 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.

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