‘Will to live’ is key, Coast Guard says of ongoing Whidbey Island plane crash search and rescue
The U.S. Coast Guard is actively searching for nine people unaccounted for after a float plane crashed west of Whidbey Island Sunday afternoon.
The plane, a de Havilland Canada DHC-3 Otter registered to Northwest Seaplanes, was in its direct flight path to Renton Municipal Airport after departing from Friday Harbor when it “took a steep dive into the water” near Mutiny Bay, according to Scott Giard, spokesperson for the Coast Guard.
Giard tells KIRO Newsradio that the plane hit the water at nearly 100 mph.
“The reason we’re out searching is that we’re searching for survivors at this point. We’re in full search mode,” Giard continued.
#UPDATE #USCG air (2 aircraft & crews) and patrol boat crews (Cutters Osprey and Blue Shark) continue the search for 9 individuals aboard the seaplane that crashed in Mutiny Bay, WA Active search efforts are underway in Mutiny Bay west of Whidbey Island. #ProtectingThePNW
— USCGPacificNorthwest (@USCGPacificNW) September 5, 2022
The search and rescue operation is complicated by the fact that the site of the crash is beyond a shelf where floor depths can drop to hundreds of feet. The Coast Guard’s capabilities are still surface-focused, so its operations are coordinating with other agencies to send divers and an unmanned submersible, a remotely operated underwater vehicle, to aid in the rescue.
Water temperature and “the will to live” are key, Giard said of the nine individuals for whom the Coast Guard has not accounted as of Monday morning.