Missing pilot found dead near Snoqualmie Pass

May 20, 2024, 4:42 PM | Updated: 5:41 pm

Image: Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) Air Search and Rescue Coordinator Tom ...

Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) Air Search and Rescue Coordinator Tom Peterson captured this photo near the Humpback Mountains, just west of Snoqualmie Pass during a search for a missing plane on Monday, May 20, 2024. (Photo courtesy of WSDOT)

(Photo courtesy of WSDOT)

A missing pilot was found dead Monday near Humpback Mountain, just west of Snoqualmie Pass, according to the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT).

Officials reported ground crews discovered the crash site around 1:30 p.m. in a heavily forested area of the mountain. The plane’s 69-year-old pilot was found dead in the plane.

WSDOT Air Search and Rescue was notified Sunday of a missing aircraft piloted by Jerry Riedinger. Riedinger, who was the only known occupant of the plane, left the Arlington Municipal Airport Sunday at 4:30 p.m. Riedinger’s wife reported him missing around 6 p.m. after he did not arrive at his destination in Ephrata, WSDOT explained in its blog.

A search got underway and included assistance from the King County Search and Rescue Association and the King County Sheriff’s Office on the ground. The 50-person ground search also included an aircraft searching from above in the sky.

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The group focused efforts on a concentrated area in the Humpback Mountains west of Snoqualmie Pass, WSDOT said in its statement. That is where the last known cell phone data was recovered. WSDOT requested other pilots give the air search and rescue team room to work safely.

Riedinger, the pilot, was reportedly carrying a parachute, and the aircraft was equipped with “a new 406MHz Emergency Locator Transmitter.” However, there had been no communication from the aircraft nor any emergency beacon signals, WSDOT reported in its blog entry.

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The agency’s statement added that WSDOT, by statute (RCW 47.68.380), is “charged with the coordination and management of aerial search and rescue within the state. The agency works in conjunction with volunteer search and rescue groups, law enforcement and other agencies, such as the U.S. Navy, in carrying out such searches.”

WSDOT said further information will be released by the King County Sheriff’s Office.

Contributing: Julia Dallas, MyNorthwest

Steve Coogan is the lead editor of MyNorthwest. You can read more of his stories here. Follow Steve on X, formerly known as Twitter, here and email him here.

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