Navy, NTSB to begin efforts to recover crashed seaplane

SEATTLE (AP) — Crews later this month will begin trying to recover the wreckage of a seaplane that crashed in Puget Sound off Whidbey Island in Washington state, killing 10.

The National Transportation Board said Friday it will work with the Navy to collect the wreckage of the DHC-3 Turbine Otter. The effort is expected to begin Sept. 26. The plane crashed Sept. 4 northwest of Seattle.

In a statement, the NTSB said the Navy will use a remotely operated vehicle, a barge and a crane to lift the wreckage from the seafloor. The wreckage, about 190 feet (58 meters) below the water, was found with sonar.

Also Friday, the NTSB released a preliminary investigative report. The report contained witness statements and other details, but authorities said it could be up two two years before a probable cause was determined.

According to witnesses, the plane was flying level before it climbed slightly, then pitched down in a “near-vertical descent.” Some witnesses said the airplane was spinning as it crashed into the sea.

The flight left Friday Harbor, a popular tourist destination in the San Juan Islands, and was headed to Renton Municipal Airport.

The plane went down in Mutiny Bay off Whidbey Island, roughly 30 miles (50 kilometers) northwest of downtown Seattle.

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