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NTSB has recovered 'the majority' of downed floatplane, investigators examining wreckage

The wreckage has been taken to a secure facility where NTSB investigators are examining it, a spokesperson said.

FREELAND, Wash. — The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has completed recovery operations following a deadly floatplane crash off the coast of Whidbey Island in September. 

Recovery operations ended on Friday. A majority of the aircraft has been recovered and moved to a secure facility where NTSB investigators are examining it, a spokesperson said. 

Officials said determining the probable cause for the accident could take between 12-24 months.  

Ten people were killed in the floatplane crash, including nine adults and one child. The floatplane took off from Friday Harbor as a scheduled commuter flight to the Renton Municipal Airport. Witnesses reported the plane took a nose dive before crashing and disappearing below the surface of the water. 

Island County Emergency Management said six bodies have been recovered from the crash with five of them positively identified. One of the bodies recovered has not yet been identified.

The body of one passenger, later identified as Gabbie Hanna, was previously recovered by a good Samaritan at the crash site.

The families of the victims in the crash plan to conduct their own investigation into what went wrong, because the NTSB's findings are not admissible in court, according for an attorney for the families. 

The NTSB released its preliminary report on Sept. 16 detailing the moments leading to the floatplane crash. NTSB said the information contained in the report is preliminary and subject to change as the investigation progresses.


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