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06 Sep

Coast Guard officials say they have called off a search for survivors in Puget Sound near Seattle after a plane crash Sunday that left one passenger dead and nine others missing.In a press release Monday afternoon, officials said they had suspended the search for the nine unaccounted passengers, including a young child, as of noon local time.

 Dozens of aircraft and vessels across multiple agencies had begun searching at sunrise for any sign of survivors, officials said, covering an area of about 2,100 square nautical miles.“It is always difficult when it comes time to make a decision to stop searching,” said Capt. Daniel Broadhurst with 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.”

Officials said they received reports around 3:11 p.m. Sunday that a seaplane containing nine adults and one child had crashed in Mutiny Bay off Whidbey Island. The aircraft was roughly 20 minutes into a flight from Friday Harbor, an island resort town, to an airport in the Seattle suburb of Renton, Wash., about 80 miles away.According to officials, the plane was operated by tourist company Friday Harbor Seaplanes and owned by sister company Northwest Seaplanes, which said on its website it has “logged over 24 years of accident and incident free flying.”

Two Coast Guard crews searched through the night, but found no trace of debris or other passengers, officials reported Monday morning.Seaplanes are popular with tourists in the area, and Friday Harbor Seaplanes offers multiple scheduled flights daily between Friday Harbor and Seattle-area airports.A team of federal investigators with the National Transportation Safety Board is also en route to investigate the cause of the crash, the agency said, which is still unknown.

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