Barbara LaBoe, communications, 360-705-7080
OLYMPIA – Searchers have located a small fixed wing aircraft that disappeared from air traffic controller contact Thursday, Dec. 29, on the Debub Peninsula of Jefferson County.
Using radar forensics data and the plane’s emergency locator transmitter, search crews were able to find the aircraft in a heavily wooded ravine the morning of Friday, Dec. 30. The search was coordinated by the Washington State Department of Transportation.
Four occupants have been located in the wreckage but there were no survivors. The names will not be released until they have been positively identified and their families have been notified. Release of names will come from law enforcement and coroner’s office officials. Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office is now the lead agency and can be reached at 360-344-9747. As of midmorning, search crews are still working through the difficult scene to recover the victims.
The Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board investigators will arrive on scene Saturday morning to examine the aircraft.
Participants in the mission are from Jefferson County Search & Rescue, Jefferson County Sheriff's Office, WSDOT, Civil Air Patrol, US Navy, Washington Emergency Management Division, Quilcene Fire District 2, Port Ludlow Fire District 3.
The plane, a single-engine Cessna, departed Seattle’s Boeing Field just after 6 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 29, bound for Port Angeles. Air traffic control lost contact with the plane at 6:44 p.m. in the general area of Dabob Bay. Emergency locator signals were used to define the search area.
WSDOT, by statue (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.