Coast Guard ends search for 9 missing in floatplane crash in Washington’s Puget Sound

Coast Guard helicopter searching an area off Puget Sound, Wash.
A Coast Guard helicopter searches the area where a floatplane crashed near Whidbey Island, Wash., on Sunday.
(Courtney Riffkin / Seattle Times)

The U.S. Coast Guard suspended the search Monday afternoon for nine people, including a child, who were missing after a floatplane crashed in the waters of Puget Sound northwest of Seattle.

The body of a 10th person was recovered on Sunday after the crash was reported at 3:11 p.m., Coast Guard spokesperson William Colclough said Monday.

Later Monday, 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.”


The agency said in a news release that the plane was flying from Friday Harbor, a popular tourist destination in the San Juan Islands, to Renton, a southern suburb of Seattle.

Four Coast Guard vessels, a rescue helicopter and an aircraft were involved in the extensive search, along with nearby rescue and law enforcement agencies.

The crash was reported at 3:11 p.m. Sunday. The Coast Guard said one body had been recovered and nine people were still missing. The cause of the crash is unknown, authorities said.

The plane went down in Mutiny Bay off Whidbey Island, roughly 30 miles northwest of downtown Seattle and about halfway between Friday Harbor and Renton.

The National Transportation Safety Board said the plane was a De Havilland DHC-3 Otter, a single-engine propeller plane.

Canadian police say 10 people are dead in 13 locations at two communities in Saskatchewan.

Sept. 4, 2022

Floatplanes, which have pontoons allowing them to land on water, are a common sight around Puget Sound, an inlet of the Pacific Ocean. There are multiple flights daily between the Seattle area and the San Juan Islands, a scenic archipelago northwest of Seattle that draws tourists from around the world.


These aircraft, which also fly between Seattle and Vancouver, frequently travel over Seattle and land in Lake Washington, not far from the Space Needle.

Renton, where authorities say the flight was headed Sunday, is at the southern tip of Lake Washington, about 10 miles southeast of Seattle.

In 2019, a midair crash in Alaska between two sightseeing planes killed six people. The Ketchikan-based floatplanes were carrying passengers from the same cruise ship, the Royal Princess, and were returning from tours of Misty Fjords National Monument.