Alfonso del Cristo Hilsaca Eljadue
Searchers have recovered some of the nine missing victims from a floatplane that crashed into Mutiny Bay off Whidbey Island on Sept. 4. The crash killed nine adults and a child.
Recovery crews are working around-the-clock to bring the plane’s wreckage up from the sea floor under challenging currents and conditions.
On the day of the crash, one body was found. It was later identified as that of Gabrielle Hanna, a Seattle-based attorney.
Thursday, Hanna’s parents, David and Marcie von Beck, released a statement about the recovery efforts through their attorney.
“We all hope that the recovery effort is successful and that everybody’s loved ones are recovered and the cause of this horrific crash is determined. We miss our dear Gabby every day, with all of our hearts. She was truly a shining star,” the attorney’s statement read.
The von Becks and family members of passengers Lauren Hilty, her husband Ross Mickel, their toddler Remy Mickel, and unborn child Luca Mickel also commented through their attorneys.
“Words cannot adequately convey the depth of our grief. The past three weeks have been absolute torture as we continue to anxiously await the retrieval of the plane and, more importantly, our loved ones. Our hope is this retrieval process is successful, but we know this is just the first step on our long, painful road ahead,” the attorney’s statement read.
The Seattle law firm of Schroeter, Goldmark & Bender is representing both families. It is not known if any legal actions are planned, but the law firm lists representing injured persons in aviation and wrongful death among their areas of focus.
The National Transportation Safety Board reports 80% of the floatplane wreckage has now been recovered from the bottom of Mutiny Bay, including the engine, gears, and propeller.
NTSB Experts will now begin the process of investigating what happened to cause the DHC-3 Turbine Otter to suddenly dive into Puget Sound.
The plane broke apart and most of the debris ended up about 190 feet deep in the water.
Two barges are anchored close to where sophisticated sonar from the University of Washington’s Applied Physics Lab located the wreckage. An underwater drone, known as the Deep Drone 8000 ROV, which is equipped with sonar and lighting systems, was brought in to help recover the wreckage.
Federal investigators say it may take a year or two to learn the cause of the crash.