Missing Plane with 10 aboard found near White Pass - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Missing Plane with 10 aboard found near White Pass

UPDATE MONDAY 11:20PM - Rescuers report that seven passengers are confirmed dead.  One body has been recovered and search efforts have been called off for the night, but are set to resume Tuesday morning.

NEAR WHITE PASS, Wash. - Ground searchers following the smell of fuel Monday night found the wreckage of a plane that had been carrying nine skydivers and a pilot. One body was recovered and no survivors had been found by late Monday night.

Tina Wilson of Yakima Valley Emergency Management said crews were searching for survivors but also "arranging for removal of the occupants of the plane."  She said she could not say whether there were any survivors.

The aircraft was found about 7:40 p.m. PDT and searchers were able to verify by serial number that it was the missing aircraft, Wilson said.

The missing Cessna 208 Grand Caravan left Star, Idaho, near Boise, Sunday evening en route to Shelton, Wash., northwest of Olympia, but did not arrive as scheduled.

The plane was returning from a skydiving meet in Idaho when it disappeared.

The single-engine plane is registered to Kapowsin Air Sports of Shelton. Ten people from Skydive Snohomish were scheduled to be on the plane, said Geoff Farrington, Kapowsin's co-owner.

The names of those on board were not released, but Farrington said their families had been notified.

A hunter in the White Pass area told police he saw a plane flying low and heard a crash about 8 p.m. Sunday.

The plane is registered to Kapowsin Air Sports of Shelton. Ten people from the skydiving company Skydive Snohomish were scheduled to be on the plane, but it was unknown how many were actually on board, said Geoff Farrington, Kapowsin's co-owner.

The family owned company, more than 60 years old, has never lost a plane, he said. The plane also had never experienced mechanical problems.

"We've been around a long time," an emotional Farrington said, describing the people on board as acquaintances. "(Skydiving) is a small community."

The names of those on board were not released, but Farrington said their families had been notified.

Officials at Skydive Snohomish did not return a telephone message seeking comment.

Nisha Marvel of the Washington Department of Transportation said the search area had been narrowed to southwest of Rimrock Lake, about 30 miles west of Yakima, due to the hunter's report and radar information. The Transportation Department was coordinating the air search, while Yakima County Search and Rescue was coordinating a ground search.

The search was centered in area along the north fork of the Tieton River.

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

Temperatures were between 35-40 degrees at 8 p.m., with some light precipitation and heavy clouds, said meteorologist Steve Bodnar of the National Weather Service in Spokane. Wind gauges to the east at Sedge Ridge showed winds of between 11-20 mph, with gusts to 46 mph.

The Cessna 208 Grand Caravan has a good reputation, Fergus said.

"It's got a good track record. It's been around a long time," he said.

Staff reports & Associated Press

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