1 dead in small plane crash in Whatcom County
A pilot was killed when the small plane he was in went down in the Chuckanut Mountain area south of Bellingham Monday night.
The Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office said that at 8 p.m., emergency dispatchers began receiving reports that an aircraft may have went down in a general area thought to be five miles south of the Bellingham International Airport.
The U.S. Coast Guard and local first responders began investigating reports of a small plane whose pilot had told air traffic control that the plane was going down. Radio contact was lost and the location of the plane was unknown.
A U.S. Customs and Border Protection chopper found the crash scene in the Chuckanut Mountain area near Fragrance Lake. Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office search and rescue deputies who reached the crash scene said there were no survivors.
National Transportation Safety Board investigators say the plane crashed in mountainous, tree-covered terrain about 10 miles south of the Bellingham Airport.
Authorities said that Initial information is that the 1979 fixed wing Mooney M20K was being flown to Bellingham from Paine Field for maintenance, according to one of the plane’s owners. That person believed that the pilot was the only occupant.
The Sheriff’s Office conducted a grid search of the area Monday to confirm that there was no one else involved in the crash.
The county medical examiner took possession of the pilot’s body at 1:30 a.m. Tuesday.
Investigators are working to confirm the identity of the pilot and notify the next of kin.