WHIDBEY ISLAND, Wash. - The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and the U.S. Navy will be combining efforts to recover the wreckage of the floatplane that crashed into Mutiny Bay off Whidbey Island earlier this month.
NTSB said the main recovery effort is expected to begin on Sept. 26.
On Sept. 9, crews identified an object on the seafloor using sonar, but needed to return to it to visually confirm that it was the wreckage. The agency confirmed that they located the wreckage on Sept. 12. The plane was found approximately 190 feet underwater.
The Navy will use a remotely-operated vehicle (ROV) that goes down to the wreckage site on the seafloor. They will also use a barge and a crane to recover the wreckage. The crane is meant to lift the wreckage pieces and the ROV will pick up smaller bits.
Recovering the wreckage site will help investigators determine exactly what happened. However, it could take up to two years for the investigation to be completed in its entirety.
Witnesses near the accident site reported the airplane was in level flight before it entered a slight climb, then pitched down in a near-vertical descent. Several witnesses described the airplane "spinning," "rotating" or "spiraling" during portions of the descent, according to NTSB.
Tom Chapman with 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.
So far, only one body has been recovered and identified. Nine of the other passengers on board are presumed dead.