Some personal items recovered near Whidbey Island plane crash site; NTSB still looking for wreckage

On Tuesday, officials with the National Transportation Safety Board provided more details about the Whidbey Island plane crash that presumably killed all 10 passengers, as well as information on the ongoing investigation.

On Sunday around 3 p.m., a plane carrying ten passengers crashed near Mutiny Bay. 

Tom Chapman, with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), told FOX 13 News on Tuesday that the actual flight only lasted about 35 minutes, and the plane got no higher than about 1,000 ft in the air.

NTSB officials also tell us the pilot of the flight, Jason Winters, had completed one other flight earlier that day.

 "We don’t know the cause of the accident at this point. It could be related to a system failure, mechanical failure, or some other factor related to the aircraft, and without the evidence, it will be a challenge, but we feel confident, at some point, we’ll be able to locate the wreckage," he said.

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Chapman says the NTSB is working with other local organizations to find the remains of the plane. He also said the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) is providing sonar equipment during the search.

On Wednesday, WDFW suspended their sonar search for the wreckage.

"Their sonar equipment is suited for searching a tightly focused area and we need the capability to search a wider area," an NTSB spokesperson said in an email to FOX 13. 

Chapman says the NTSB has been working since Monday on the investigation. 

He says investigators are digging into data, including airplane structure and systems, as well as operations. Chapman also said investigators are looking into maintenance records, training records, and pilot records.

"Our mission is to understand not just what happened, but why it happened and recommend changes to prevent it from happening again," said Chapman.

NTSB said on Wednesday, foam fragments from the airplane's floats, a seat cushion, seat belt, dispatch paperwork, flooring structure remnants and some personal items were recovered from an area near the wreckage site. 

Chapman says investigations, on average, take about 18-24 months.

However, he says this investigation is more unpredictable due to the crash happening in the water and the ongoing recovery effort.

The NTSB is asking for your help. Anyone with information, pictures, or video is asked to contact the NTSB at witness@ntsb.gov or call 866.328.6347.

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