COEUR D’ALENE, Idaho (AP) – Two people died in a plane crash Sunday over Lake Coeur dâ€™Alene, and as many as six other people may be missing, the Kootenai County Sheriffâ€™s Office said.
Witnesses said they saw two planes colliding above the water, then crashing into the lake near Powderhorn Bay, according to a release from the Kootenai County Sheriffâ€™s Office. The crash took place about 2:20 p.m.
Multiple local agencies, including the sheriffâ€™s marine teams, local fire departments and the United States Coast Guard, responded to the crash, the Spokane Spokesman-Review reported.
Lt. Ryan Higgins with the sheriffâ€™s office confirmed two bodies had been recovered from the planes. The victims have not been identified.
Investigators are checking initial reports that there were a total of eight passengers and crew on the two planes, the sheriff’s office said in a statement Sunday night. Investigators do not believe there are other survivors in the crash.
John Cowles told the newspaper that was on the lake with his family at the time of the crash. Cowles said he saw what appeared to be an â€œengine explosionâ€ on a seaplane flying no more than 200 feet overhead. One of the planeâ€™s wings then separated, and the plane fell into the water.
Patrick Pearce told the Spokesman-Review that he saw two single-engine planes coming towards each other, 800 to 900 feet above the water. Pearce, a pilot himself, said he recognized by the engine sounds that both planes were traveling at a fairly high rate of speed, the newspaper reported.
The planes collided before crashing into the lake, Pearce said.
The National Transportation Safety Board will likely take over the investigation in the coming days, Higgins told the Spokesman-Review.