Minnesota couple killed in Puget Sound floatplane crash

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Two Minnesotans were among the 10 people killed Sunday when a floatplane crashed in Washington.

The seaplane was on its way from a popular tourist destination to a Seattle suburb when it went down in Puget Sound without sending out a distress call.

Tuesday morning, the U.S. Coast Guard released the names of the victims, which included Luke and Rebecca Ludwig, a couple from Excelsior. They leave behind two kids, who are safe at home with family members.

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Family members released the following statement on Tuesday:

“We have nothing to share at this time, other than we are coping with this tragedy with overwhelming support from family, friends, and a loving community. We ask that the media respect our family’s privacy and allow us to deal with our losses without future media attention or prominence.”

Ludwig family

Neighbors shared with 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS that the Ludwigs touched the lives of everyone they met.

“They’re a very nice, sweet family. It’s tragic news to hear that happened,” Nancy Lesetmoe, Excelsior resident, said.

Like many in this Excelsior neighborhood, Lesetmoe is doing her best to wrap her mind around the loss of two beloved neighbors.

“They first moved in together. They had no kids. The kids have been raised here and grown up here,” she said. 

Lesetmoe lives right next door to the Ludwigs and their two kids. 

She described them as a tight-knit family who always said hello with a smile. 

“They do a lot of stuff together. We’ve seen them going canoeing, walking and biking,” Lesetmoe said. “They would set up an ice rink and that was a big thing during the wintertime.”

 She said following the tragedy, the sidewalk has been empty. 

“Shock. I can’t believe it,” Patrick Kenney, Excelsior resident, said. 

Kenney ran into the couple often in the neighborhood. He explained the small moments were memorable. 

“He was a good guy. I talked to his wife once in a while, but they’re very nice people,” he said. “I’m sorry to hear that, especially with the kids. I feel bad for the kids because they don’t have their parents anymore.”

Luke Ludwig’s current employer, HomeLight, released the following statement: 

“The entire HomeLight team extends our deepest sympathies to both Luke and Becca’s families, friends, and loved ones. Luke was a deeply devoted father, husband, outdoorsman, and coach for his kids’ sports teams, known for his remarkable kindness and generous spirit. Here at HomeLight, Luke has been an incredible leader, engineer, and mentor for the HomeLight Home Loans engineering team — and the broader engineering and product teams at large — since he joined us over a year ago. We were privileged to know his warmth, intellect, and humor, and will miss him deeply.”

Additionally, the founders of SportsEngine, where Luke previously worked, released the following statement:

“In 2007 Luke was the first software engineer hired at SportsEngine, rounding out our small team of seven at the time. He played a prominent role in creating the technology now used by millions of young athletes and their families worldwide. During his 14 years at SportsEngine, Luke built and managed multiple technology teams as the company grew from 7 people to more than 500 employees at the time of his departure in 2021. Luke was a brilliant technologist, but more than that was an incredibly kind and thoughtful human being. He led and encouraged his co-workers with a calm positivity that earned him the respect of everyone fortunate enough to work with him. As we forged a friendship with Luke and Becca over the years, they started to feel like extended family. We are absolutely heartbroken for their loved ones, especially their children. We will miss Luke and Becca more than words.”

SportsEngine Co-Founders Justin Kaufenberg, Carson Kipfer, Greg Blasko and Michael Lewis

The Coast Guard recovered one body Sunday night but still hasn’t located the other nine victims, despite extensive search efforts.

The cause of the crash is still unknown.

“The Coast Guard offers its deepest sympathies to those who lost a loved one in this tragedy,” Cmdr. Xochitl Castañeda, the search and rescue mission coordinator for the incident, said in a statement.

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the crash.