Remains of 7 Puget Sound floatplane crash victims identified

SEATTLE (AP) — Seven people including a retired teacher have been identified after their bodies were recovered in the aftermath of a floatplane crash that killed 10 people last month in Washington’s Puget Sound, authorities said Friday.

The Clallam County Coroner’s Office said remains that washed ashore about two weeks after the Sept. 4 crash were identified as those of Patricia Hicks of Spokane Valley, KING-TV reported. Hicks, a retired teacher, was among those aboard when the floatplane crashed near Whidbey Island.

Deputies were called Sept. 16 to the Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge, where Hicks’ remains were found at Dungeness Spit. Officials said no other remains were found there despite a search.

Island County Emergency Management officials said Hicks’ body was the seventh found since the crash in a recovery operation led by the National Transportation Safety Board. Officials said Friday that other bodies recovered in September included those of the pilot, Jason Winters, and those of Sandra Williams, Ross Mickel, Luke Ludwig and Rebecca Ludwig.

One body was recovered the day of the crash and identified as that of Seattle resident Gabrielle Hanna.

Authorities said the bodies of Joanne Mera, Remy Mickel and Lauren Hilty remain missing.

The Northwest Seaplanes flight departed Friday Harbor on San Juan Island and was headed to a suburban Seattle airport when witnesses said the plane took a nose dive, crashed into the water and disappeared below the surface. There was no distress call.

The NTSB completed recovery operations on Sept. 30, also pulling from the seafloor the majority of the aircraft. The wreckage has been moved to a facility where investigators are examining it.

Officials have said determining the probable cause of the crash could take between 12 and 24 months.

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