One dead and nine missing, including child, after plane crashes into water near Seattle

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One person is dead and nine others, including a child, are missing after a seaplane crashed in the water near Seattle.

Witnesses on the shore reported seeing the aircraft “nose dive into the water” in Puget Sound at around 3.10pm on Sunday.

The US coastguard launched a search for the missing people after a body was recovered by a member of the public, but suspended its operation on Monday afternoon.

“All next of kin have been notified of this decision,” the coastguard said on Twitter, after crews searched an area of more than 2,100 square nautical miles (almost 2,800 square miles).

“Our hearts go out to the families, loved ones and friends of those who remain missing and the deceased.”

Four coastguard vessels, a rescue helicopter and an aircraft, plus nearby rescue and law enforcement agencies, were involved in the search.

A team from the National Transportation Safety Board was also sent to investigate.

The cause of the crash, involving a DHC-3 Turbine Otter, is still not known.

Coastguard spokesperson William Colclough said the Northwest Seaplanes flight had left Friday Harbour, a popular tourist destination in the San Juan Islands, and was heading to Renton Municipal Airport, the company’s base.

The plane went down in Mutiny Bay off Whidbey Island, about 30 miles (50km) northwest of central Seattle, and about halfway between Friday Harbour and Renton, a Seattle suburb.

A US coastguard helicopter searches the area where a floatplane crashed near Whidbey Island, Washington state. Pic: Courtney Riffkin/The Seattle Times via AP
A coastguard helicopter at the crash scene. Pic: Courtney Riffkin/The Seattle Times via AP

Floatplanes are a common sight around Puget Sound, an inlet of the Pacific Ocean. They have pontoons, allowing them to land on water.

There are multiple, daily flights between the Seattle area and the San Juan Islands.

Northwest Seaplanes is a family-owned business founded by Clyde Carlson, according to the company’s website.

It has 24-years of “accident and incident-free flying”, the website said.

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