All 10 victims identified in deadly floatplane crash into Puget Sound; NTSB heading wreckage search

Whidbey Island, Wash. The US Coast Guard has released the names of all 10 people who were on a floatplane that crashed off Whidbey Island on Sunday.

Nine adults and a child were on board when the plane went down at 3:11 pm. One person was found dead at the scene. The other nine victims are missing and have been presumed dead.

Jason Winters – Pilot

According to Northwest Seaplane’s Instagram account, Winters had been flying since 1995 and with Northwest Seaplanes since 2013.

Sandra “Sandy” Williams

According to The Spokesman-Review Williams was reportedly a civil rights activist who founded a black newspaper, The Black Lens, and a community center, the Carl Maxi Center, in Spokane.

Many are sending tributes to Williams, including state Sen. Andy Billing, who serves Spokane’s third legislative district.

He said of Williams in a Facebook post, “Sandy was a leader in the truest sense of the word. She worked with others to create a vision for positive change, a plan to achieve that change.” Then, he excavated to work and others followed him. His incredible work to create the Karl Maxi Center would leave a legacy of positive impact for generations to come and he would move surplus WSDOT land in the East Central from vacant lots. She was also a driving force for making and passing a bill to convert it into badly needed housing. You’ll be missed, Sandy. Tear down.”

Patricia “Pat” Hicks


According to the Seattle Times, Pat Hicks was a retired Los Angeles schoolteacher who was returning from vacation in the San Juan Islands with his partner Sandy Williams.

The above photo (left to right) is of Williams, Spokane Council members Betsy Wilkerson and Pat Hicks.

Luke Ludwig and Rebecca Ludwig


According to, a family member confirmed that Luke Ludwig, 42, and his wife, Rebecca Ludwig, 42, were killed in the accident. A married couple from Minneapolis lived in Excelsior. Their children are safe and with other family members.

Joan Mera


Joan Mera

Joan Mera, 60, hails from San Diego and is the CEO of a successful events company. She was on her way to visit the family at the time of the accident. She is survived by her three children, her husband over the age of 30, sisters, brothers, nieces and nephews. A statement from the family said, “Joan Mera was attracted to everyone, she was the life of any party and the soul of our family. She was the best mother, wife, sister and friend. Our hearts are broken, not only for the loss of our family, but for the loss we know other families are feeling right now. ,

Gabrielle Hannah


Gabrielle Hanna, 29, was a budding lawyer in Seattle. In a statement to his employer, Cooley, he said, “Our colleague and friend Gabriel Hannah lost his life in a tragic floatplane crash that killed nine others. Beginning with us as a summer colleague, Gabby spent the entirety of his brief legal career with Cooley. In his few years with the firm, Gabby had already established himself as a true talent and team player, delivering the highest quality services to our clients. Was dedicated to providing service and advice. Importantly, Gabby was always quick to smile and a true believer in – and contributor to – coolie culture. She will be sorely missed.”

Ross Mikel, Lauren Hilty and Remy Mikel


Ross Mikel was the owner of the Eastside-based Ross Andrew Winery. According to a report in The Seattle Times, his wife Lauren Hilty and their 22-month-old son Remi were also on board the plane.

According to TMZ, Lauren Hilty is the sister of “Smash” actress Megan Hilty, who also played Glinda in “Wicked” on Broadway. Lauren was also pregnant at the time of the accident.

All the victims were identified early Tuesday after the Coast Guard suspended an active search for nine of the 10 accident victims on Monday afternoon.

The man whose body was recovered at the scene was transferred to the Island County Coroner and has yet to be identified as positive. It is the Coast Guard’s policy not to release the names of the deceased or missing until at least 24 hours after the next of kin have been notified.

“The Coast Guard offers its deepest sympathies to those who have lost a loved one in this tragedy,” the commodore said. Xochitl Castañeda, the search and rescue mission coordinator for the accident.

The Coast Guard said in a statement that it covered 1,283 linear nautical miles during its search and saturated an area of ​​more than 2,100 square nautical miles.

According to the National Transportation Safety Board, the single-engined float aircraft that crashed was a DHC-3 Turbine Otter. According to South Whidbey Fire/EMS, the plane is about 200 feet deep in the water.

While the Coast Guard submitted its findings to the NTSB to investigate the accident, Coast Guard search teams would return if more debris washed ashore than they expected.

Meanwhile, experts are sharing what could be wrong with the floatplane as it made its way to Renton.

Kathleen Bangs is a former commercial and floatplane pilot. He said he saw FlightAware flight tracker data and the plane fell into 700 feet of water.

“Was there some kind of structural failure that happened so abruptly that the pilot couldn’t do anything? Because the airplane appeared to have hit the ocean completely out of control,” Bangs said.

Bangs said investigators will look into whether the pilot was incapacitated, if the plane collided with a bird or a drone and how well the aircraft was maintained.

The area where the floatplane downed was mostly calm on Tuesday, with only a Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife dive boat in the area.

“It is debris that needs to be found and removed immediately. I don’t understand why the Navy isn’t out there,” said Seattle Aviation Attorney Alisa Brodkowitz, who sued over a previous seaplane crash.

He said the plane needed to be traced with sonar.

“Every minute that the Navy isn’t out with its sonar and its experienced divers, it means evidence has been lost, and it means these families wouldn’t be off without that wreckage,” Brodkowitz said.

John Paul Johnston, executive director of the Divers Institute of Technology, said the plane is likely to be in pieces and drifting deep in currents and opposite currents.

Johnson says the plane can be found with SideScan sonar, and added that bringing in a rescue company is another way to find the plane.

“They’ll be a lot of ships here, companies, that carry that type of equipment,” Johnson said.

Brodkowitz de Havilland focuses on the structural integrity of the DHC-3 otter.

He added that the 1963 aircraft history shows the change from piston to turbine engine, which is usually done to give the aircraft more speed and faster lift.

To compensate for the change in center of gravity, the nose of the aircraft was extended.

“The structure of the airplane changes up front, a firewall forward, not much structural change to the rest; And then you put this superfast engine in it and then there are problems,” Brodkowitz said.

Brodkowitz said engine conversion has caused structural fatigue and accidents in the past.

She wants the FAA to immediately require operators of Otters with conversions to perform robust structural inspections.

Navy officials told KIRO 7 that they were not aware of any requests to use their assets to locate the aircraft.

KIRO 7 asked the owner of Northwest Seaplanes if it plans to hire a rescue company, or if the company is now conducting additional inspections, but it did not respond.

However, NTSB officials arrived in Washington state and provided an update on the accident Tuesday evening.

According to investigators, the plane was flying at an altitude of about 1,000 feet when it fell into the water.

Despite hurricane status at the time, KIRO 7 found that the aircraft appeared to be flying at a stable altitude and in the air longer than ever before.

Investigators said the plane had been flying for 35 minutes when it crashed, which is almost double what the Kiro 7 crew was first told.

Investigators said pilot records and aircraft maintenance records have been obtained.

They are also looking at air traffic control data and weather information.

NTSB board member Tom Chapman said during Tuesday night’s briefing, “The NTSB is now directing a search for the wreckage of the aircraft working with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, sonar equipment and sonar equipment for the exploration of Mutiny Bay.” Providing personnel.” “The typical time frame for an investigation is 18 to 24 months. It’s a little uncertain because of the ongoing recovery efforts with respect to finding and then hopefully salvaging the wreckage. It makes it a little more unpredictable. Those efforts are on.” It is difficult to predict how long this is going to take. We are confident that the wreckage will be found.”

While the investigation is ongoing, this is not the first time seaplanes have crashed in western Washington.

In 2016, a de Havilland DHC-2 beaver was carrying four people to the southern end of López Island.

All the passengers were thrown overboard, but they were all saved by nearby sailors.

In July 2020, two seaplanes crashed in Lake Washington. The first took place on July 1 on the shore near Lakeside Avenue. Two people were on board. Both survived.

The second occurred on 28 July near Carillon Point in Kirkland.

That pilot also survived.

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