Coast Guard calls off search, names victims of plane crash in Puget Sound


A plane flying out of San Juan Island in Washington’s Puget Sound crashed Sunday, killing 10, including the pilot.

The plane nosedived around 3 p.m. into Mutiny Bay near Whidbey Island about 18 minutes after taking off for Renton Municipal Airport, 80 miles away.

“First thought was thunder. It was that loud. There was no flash like you get with lightning. So, you know, I thought a boat exploded. It was that devastating,” Whidbey Island resident Jeff Brewny told the Associated Press.

Witness Matt Peterson told KING-TV, a Seattle NBC affiliate, that “The impact seemed to disintegrate everything.”

The body of one of the 10 victims, a woman, was found on Sunday, which led the Coast Guard to search for the other nine.

On Monday afternoon, the U.S. Coast Guard called off the search.

On Tuesday, the agency officially released the names of the victims: Ross Mickel, his wife Lauren Hilty, their juvenile daughter Remy Mickel, Luke Ludwig, Rebecca Ludwig, Joanne Mera, Gabrielle Hanna, Patricia Hicks, Sandra Williams, and pilot Jason Winters.

In a statement to the Tacoma News Tribune, the Mickel family’s relatives indicated that Ms. Hilty was pregnant with an unborn son, Luca, at the time of the crash.

The cause of the crash has not yet been determined.

Northwest Seaplanes, the company that employed Mr. Winters and owned the plane, said on Facebook that “We are working with the FAA, NTSB and Coastguard. We have been in communication with the families. We are praying for the families involved, including our pilot and his family.”


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