YAKIMA, Wash. – Rescuers searched the rugged Cascade Mountains Tuesday for the last victims of a plane crash that likely killed 10 people flying home from a skydiving event.
Three people were still missing, but authorities said it was unlikely there were survivors.
The debris at the remote crash site indicated that the Cessna Caravan 208 went down in a steep nosedive, Yakima County Sheriff Ken Irwin told a news conference at a command center.
The plane left Star, Idaho, near Boise, on Sunday evening en route to Shelton, Wash., northwest of Olympia, but did not arrive. It had been returning from a skydiving meet in Idaho when it disappeared.
Fighting back tears, Kelly Craig, whose brother Casey, died in the crash, said the skydivers on board had made lots of jumps over the weekend. He doubted that they would have been prepared for an emergency jump, because it was unlikely they were strapped into parachutes and wearing goggles on their way home.
The plane crashed just east of the crest of the Cascades, about five miles south of White Pass and on the edge of the Goat Rocks Wilderness, said Wayne Frudd of Yakima County Search and Rescue. The crash site is about 25 miles southeast of Mount Rainier.
‘I’m told it was a horrific sight and the airplane crashed at a fairly high speed,’ said Jim Hall, director of Yakima Valley Emergency Management. The impact was estimated at 70 mph.
Searchers found the wreckage Monday night after following the scent of fuel to the crash site. They were able to verify by serial number that it was the plane carrying nine skydivers and a pilot that went missing a day earlier, said Tina Wilson, a Yakima Valley Emergency Management spokeswoman.
Search teams will continue looking as long as it takes to find all those on board, then local authorities will turn the investigation over to the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board, Irwin said.