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Three Bodies Recovered From Lake CDA Plane Crash; Search Continues

Bureau of Land Management

Dive teams working at Lake Coeur d’Alene on Monday to recover the bodies of several victims of a Sunday afternoon mid-air collision.

The planes went down in the water between Powderhorn and Black Bays.

Lieutenant Ryan Higgins from the Kootenai County Sheriff’s Office told reporters Monday afternoon that three bodies out of eight are now recovered. He says crews have discovered the locations of two others on the bottom of the lake; those have yet to be recovered. Three others are believed to be down there too.

One of the planes was owned by Brooks Seaplane Service, which takes customers up for scenic views of the lake. Higgins says it is believed there were six people on board that plane, the pilot and five passengers. Four of the five passengers, he says, are believed to be from one family, a father and three children. He says the coroner's office is working to notify relatives of the deceased. Their names haven't yet been released. It is not known whether the passengers were from the Coeur d’Alene area or from out-of-town.

Higgins didn’t have much information about the second plane, which was apparently based in Lewiston, but flew out of Felts Field in Spokane on Sunday. He says it’s believed that plane had two people aboard.

Higgins says pictures and video taken around the time of the crash show the two planes headed toward each other. It’s not known if anything went wrong mechanically or if there were communications problems. Higgins says there didn't appear to be anything unusual in the air or the area. A team from the National Transportation Safety Board from Seattle is due to arrive in Coeur d’Alene to begin the investigation either later today or some time this week.

Higgins says the Kootenai County sonar and dive teams are on scene, trying to pinpoint bodies and plane wreckage. They lake is 127 feet deep at that point. He says a small vehicle designed to operate underwater has been helping with that work. He says the recovery team is taking its time to ensure the safety of the divers.