No suriviors in skydiving plane crash
Associated Press Writer
YAKIMA, Wash. (AP) ” 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 30-year-old 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 wreckage was found about an hour after dark Monday by searchers on the ground following the smell of fuel. Tom Peterson, aviation and emergency services coordinator for the state Department of Transportation, said investigators don’t know what caused the plane to crash.
A hunter who reported seeing a low-flying plane then hearing a crash said the engine sounded like it was working hard and whining as the aircraft went down, Peterson said.
The plane, a single-engine turboprop built in 1994, was found within 200 yards of its last radar ping in rugged terrain at an elevation of 4,300 feet. The crash site measured about 100 feet by 60 feet, indicating that the plane probably went straight down, said Irwin, the sheriff.
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.
Authorities did not immediately release the names of the victims, who ranged in age from 18 to 40, because not all family members had been notified.
The nine skydivers were affiliated with Skydive Snohomish, a company that operates a training school and skydiving flights at Harvey Field in Snohomish County, about 20 miles north of Seattle.
Skydive Snohomish had nothing to do with the flight to Idaho or the event held there, said Elaine Harvey, co-owner of the company.
The plane was registered to Kapowsin Air Sports of Shelton, located near Olympia.
Geoff Farrington, Kapowsin’s co-owner, said the family-owned company had never before lost a plane. He also said the plane had never experienced mechanical problems.
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Policy that dictates what for-profit activities should be officially sanctioned within Glenwood Springs parks is being reviewed by city staff and will likely come before the city council for final approval later this summer.