Navy, NTSB to begin efforts to recover crashed seaplane

Crews later this month will begin trying to recover the wreckage of a seaplane that crashed in Puget Sound off Whidbey Island in Washington state, killing 10, including a Minnesota couple.

The National Transportation Board said Friday it will work with the Navy to collect the wreckage of the DHC-3 Turbine Otter. The effort is expected to begin Sept. 26. The plane crashed Sept. 4 northwest of Seattle.

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In a statement, the NTSB said the Navy will use a remotely operated vehicle, a barge and a crane to lift the wreckage from the seafloor. The wreckage, about 190 feet below the water, was found with sonar.

Also Friday, the NTSB released a preliminary investigative report. The report contained witness statements and other details, but authorities said it could be up two two years before a probable cause was determined.

According to witnesses, the plane was flying level before it climbed slightly, then pitched down in a “near-vertical descent.” Some witnesses said the airplane was spinning as it crashed into the sea.

The flight left Friday Harbor, a popular tourist destination in the San Juan Islands, and was headed to Renton Municipal Airport.

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The plane went down in Mutiny Bay off Whidbey Island, roughly 30 miles northwest of downtown Seattle.

Luke and Rebecca Ludwig, from Excelsior, were among those killed in the crash.