One person has been found dead and a search operation is underway for nine others, including a child, on board a seaplane that crashed in Mutiny Bay, west of Whidbey Island in Washington.
The float plane was en route to the Renton Municipal airport from Friday Harbor in San Juan County, the US coast guard said.
The authorities received a report at 3.11pm local time on Sunday that a seaplane with 10 people had crashed, prompting a major search operation.
At least four coast guard vessels, a rescue helicopter and an aircraft along with first responders and law enforcement agencies were pressed into the search.
“A surface safety zone has been placed around the scene of the crash,” the coast guard said.
The 55-year-old single-engine de Havilland Canada DHC-3 Otter was in the air for 19 minutes before crashing.
The body of a woman has been recovered from the scene, the Seattle Times reported. The cause of the crash is still unknown, authorities said.
“Witnesses saw the plane go down quite quickly towards the water and saw it impact the water,” Lieutenant Jon Gabelein with the South Whidbey fire department told KING5.
When asked if the plane had nosedived, he said: “That’s what it was described as happening.
“We will continue to search the debris in the area following the tide and the current as time goes on we will have the lights and the helicopter has night capabilities,” he said, adding that continuing the search operations after dark would be a challenge for the agencies.
Float planes are frequently used around Puget Sound to ferry tourists between Seattle and the scenic San Juan Islands.
In May 2019, six people were killed in a midair collision between two Alaskan sightseeing planes.