Search is on for missing plane with 10 onboard - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Search is on for missing plane with 10 onboard

WHITE PASS, Wash. - Authorities are searching for a missing skydiving plane that is believed to have crashed near Rimrock Lake in the central Washington Cascades.

The owner of the plane has confirmed that 10 people from the Skydive Snohomish Company were scheduled to be on board. However, the co-owner of Kapowsin Air Sports says it is not known how many were actually on board the aircraft. 

The Yakima County sheriff's office says the Cessna 208 Caravan left Boise around 7 p.m. Sunday and was headed toward Shelton, Washington, but did not arrive as scheduled. According to state aviation official Tom Peterson, the plane was returning from a skydiving competition.

Officials say a hunter in the White Pass area told police he saw a plane flying low and heard a crash around 8 p.m. The plane was reported overdue around 2:30 a.m. Monday morning.

Officials say the plane's emergency locator was not activated.

The Washington Department of Transportation says the search area has been narrowed to the southwest of Rimrock Lake due to the hunter's report and radar information.

The Department of Transportation's aviation division is coordinating the air search and the Yakima Sheriff's Office is coordinating the ground search, which is focused south of White Pass.

Wayne Frudd of Yakima County Search and Rescue says, in his words, "Unfortunately, we have not turned up a plane. That's hard on the families and those of us who are searching."

Frudd says the search terrain is steep, rocky, and heavy forested.

The co-owner of the skydiving company Skydive Snohomish says that nine of the ten people aboard the plane were either employers of her business or else licensed skydivers who considered Snohomish their "home drop zone."

Skydive Snohomish operates a training school and offers skydiving flights at Harvey Field in Snohomish County.

The co-owner, Elaine Harvey, says her company had nothing to do with this flight to Idaho but adds that those aboard are "beloved friends."

Many relatives of those aboard the plane have gathered at White Pass in the Cascades.

One man who did not identify himself says his 30-year-old son was aboard the plane and that father adds, in his words, "He worked hard and he played hard - we just want to find him."

Nisha Marvel of the Washington Department of Transportation says the search area has been narrowed to southwest of Rimrock Lake, about 45 miles west of Yakima, due radar information and the report of a hunter who said he saw a plane and heard a crash Sunday night.

The Transportation Department is coordinating the air search, while Yakima County Search and Rescue is coordinating the ground search.

Officials say the plane's emergency locator was not activated.

The plane is registered to Kapowsin Air Sports of Shelton, south of Seattle near Olympia.

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