Some victims of the plane crash identified
The Kootenai County Sheriff’s Office sonar boat searches near Black Bay on Lake Coeur d’Alene following a crash involving two planes on Sunday afternoon.
DAVID KILMER/Special to The Press
The Kootenai County Sheriff’s Office has identified five of the six passengers of the Brooks Seaplane involved in a mid-air collision with another plane Sunday.
The plane was piloted by Neil Lunt, 58, from Liberty Lake. Also in the plane was passenger Sean K. Fredrickson, 48, from Lake Oswego, Ore., a 16-year-old female, an 11-year-old male and 16-year-old male.
The juveniles listed are the children and stepchildren of Fredrickson, a press release said.
There was another male on the plane that has yet to be identified. Detectives are currently working on that.
The two occupants of the Cessna have been identified, but their names are being withheld pending notification to next of kin.
Three occupants have been recovered, but their identities are not known at this time, the release said. Once the coroner positivity identifies those recovered their names will be released.
KCSO sonar teams and dive teams are working on recovering two more victims. However, water depth and where they are located within the wreckage are making things difficult, the release said.
The Kootenai County Sheriff’s Office confirmed Monday that one of the planes involved in the accident was float plane from Brooks Seaplanes.
The plane was carrying 5 passengers and one pilot, a release said. The passengers included three children and two adults. The second plane was a Cessna that was carrying at least two occupants. The number of occupants is still being confirmed for the Cessna.
The KCSO Sonar Team and Dive Team have located the wreckage in approximately 127 feet of water. Two victims were recovered at the scene shortly after the accident. A third victim was recovered from the lake floor by the Sonar Team and Dive Team using a Remote Operated Vehicle (ROV).
The Sonar and Dive Team will resume recovery efforts at around noon today. NTSB has been contacted and are planning on sending over investigators possibly today as well.
The Kootenai County Sheriff’s Office would like to thank all the citizens who attempted to render aid to the victims who were located at the scene.
No survivors after Sunday afternoon collision; as many as eight were aboard
Two people were confirmed dead after two small planes — a Cessna TU206G and a de Havilland DHC-2 — collided over Lake Coeur d’Alene and dropped into the water Sunday afternoon, the Kootenai County Sheriff’s Office reported.
Witnesses reported the accident — which took place in an area believed to be between Black Bay and Powderhorn Bay, south of Coeur d’Alene and across from Rockford Bay — around 2:20 p.m. on Sunday, according to KCSO Lt. Ryan Higgins. The planes were located in 127 feet of water by the KCSO’s sonar team, he said. It is unknown how many occupants were on each.
Two bodies were pulled from the lake following the crash, Higgins said. Initial reports said there were a total of eight passengers and crew on the two planes, but that had not been verified. It is believed there are no survivors, he said.
Identities of those victims were being withheld pending autopsies and notification of next of kin.
Kootenai County Marine units and the U.S. Coast Guard also responded to the report of the plane crash, the KCSO reported.
“We were at a home overlooking the lake,” witness David Kilmer told The Press in a phone interview. “My wife, Rebecca, saw a fireball and wings flying out of the fireball. She said, ‘I just saw a plane explode,’ so we went to the scene.”
Kilmer said that 20-30 boaters came to the scene to assist in the recovery.
Crews from Worley Fire, Coeur d’Alene Fire and Eastside Fire departments also assisted at the scene.
“It was a great response by recreational boaters,” Kilmer said. “There were so many people on the lake doing whatever they could to help recover what they could. There was nothing left of the plane that was floating.”
Kilmer added that the lake was busy on the Fourth of July holiday weekend.
“We’ve seen a lot of planes in the air all day,” Kilmer said. “There were a lot of planes and people out enjoying the weekend. There was nothing we were able to do.”
Higgins also praised the help of boaters on the scene who tried to help before authorities showed up.
“With the Fourth of July weekend, it was a nice sunny day with hundreds of boats out,” Higgins said. “As most boaters know, we can’t be there for everything as we only have so many boats. The boaters really rely on the other boaters and do the best they could to help each other out.”
The Sheriff’s Office is working with the National Transportation Safety Board on the investigation.