SEABECK — A driver’s license is found. Next of kin has been notified. And the search for the pilot and plane that crashed Jan. 26 in Hood Canal near Seabeck was suspended at 9 p.m. that evening.
Recovery of the aircraft and remains is up to the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Department, and any further investigation would be conducted by the National Transportation Safety Board, Chief Petty Officer Sara Mooers said Jan. 27.
Mooers would not disclose the pilot’s identity, citing policy. But she did say the pilot “had a residence on Fox Island” and was male. She said there are no other missing-plane or missing-person reports, and it’s believed the Fox Island man on the driver’s license was the pilot and that he was flying alone.
Mooers described the debris field as “fairly small,” consisting of red and white aircraft metal, seat cushions, and headsets. “Nothing more definitive than that,” she said. “We were not able to establish where the aircraft took off from.”
Mooers thanked all of the responders that participated in the search, and said, “It’s sad there was not a more favorable outcome.”
Lt. Raphael Sadowitz, command duty officer at U.S. Coast Guard Sector Puget Sound, said in a press release issued late Jan. 26, “Our prayers and heartfelt wishes go out to the friends and loved ones of those affected by this tragedy.”
She added, “We also extend our gratitude to the good Samaritans who were quick to report the incident and the local law enforcement personnel who aided in our search. Their efforts helped ensure our ability to swiftly find the location of the crash and thoroughly cover the surrounding areas.”
After receiving a call from Kitsap County 911 operators around 1 p.m., reporting a small plane with an unknown number of people on board had crashed in the waters of Hood Canal, Coast Guard Sector Puget Sound launched two MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crews, a 45-foot Response Boat-Medium crew, and diverted the crew of Coast Guard Cutter Henry Blake to the reported crash site.
Other agency responders included personnel from Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office, Mason County Sheriff’s Office, Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, and Central Kitsap Fire & Rescue.
According to the Coast Guard, weather at the time of the incident consisted of clear skies, 12 to 15 mph winds, 1-foot seas, air temperature of 53 degrees Fahrenheit, and water temperature of 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
An unidentified red-and-white object floats in the water near the crash site.
A Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office boat cruises the waters of Hood Canal on Jan. 26 while searching for a downed plane.