US Coast Guard ends search for nine missing in seaplane crash

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The US Coast Guard suspended the search on Monday for nine people, including a child, who were missing after a seaplane crashed in the waters of Puget Sound north-west of Seattle.

The body of a 10th person was recovered by a member of the public on Sunday after the crash was reported, Coast Guard spokesman William Colclough said.

The Coast Guard said it was suspending the search after “saturating an area” of more than 2,100 square nautical miles.

“All next of kin have been notified of this decision,” the Coast Guard said on Twitter. “Our hearts go out to the families, loved ones and friends of those who remain missing and the deceased.”

Plane Crash
A Coast Guard helicopter searches the area (Courtney Riffkin/The Seattle Times/AP)

The plane went down in Mutiny Bay off Whidbey Island, roughly 30 miles north-west of central Seattle and about halfway between Friday Harbour and Renton, a suburb south of Seattle.

The National Transportation Safety Board said they were sending a team of seven to investigate the crash of the DHC-3 Turbine Otter.

The cause of the crash is unknown, authorities said.

Jon Gabelein of South Whidbey Fire/EMS told KOMO witnesses on the shore reported seeing the plane “nose dive into the water”.

Float Plane Crash
A chartered seaplane crashed (Stephen Brashear/AP)

Seaplanes, which have pontoons allowing them to land on water, are a common sight around Puget Sound, an inlet of the Pacific Ocean.

There are several daily flights between the Seattle area and the San Juan Islands.

In July, 2020, a De Havilland Beaver operated by Brooke’s Seaplanes was on a scenic flight in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, with five passengers and a pilot when it collided with a Cessna 206. Eight people were killed.

In 2019, a mid-air crash in Alaska between two sightseeing planes killed six people.

The Ketchikan-based seaplanes were carrying passengers from the same cruise ship, the Royal Princess, and were returning from tours of Misty Fjords National Monument.

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