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Six bodies recovered from planes that collided over Lake Coeur d’Alene

UPDATED: Tue., July 7, 2020

By Emma Epperly and Riley Haun The Spokesman-Review

A team of technical divers Monday night recovered the bodies of three more of the eight people killed in an airplane collision over Lake Coeur d’Alene on Sunday.

The search continued Tuesday for the bodies of the remaining two victims .

The Kootenai County Sheriff’s Office also confirmed in a Tuesday news release that two people were aboard a Cessna TU206G that flew out of Felts Field before colliding with a de Havilland DHC-2 owned and operated by the Coeur d’Alene-based Brooks Seaplane.

The crash happened at about 2:20 p.m. Sunday, between Black Bay and Powderhorn Bay.

Deputies have identified the two occupants of the Cessna but are waiting to notify family before releasing the names to the public.

Five of the six people aboard the Brooks Seaplane have been identified. Neil Lunt, 58, of Liberty Lake, was piloting the plane and is listed as the owner of the company.

His passengers included Sean K. Fredrickson, 48, of Lake Oswego, Oregon, and Fredrickson’s son Hayden, 16, his stepdaughter Sofie, 16, and his stepson Quinn, 11.

Kootenai County Sheriff’s detectives were working to identify a fifth passenger, an adult male.

Higgins could not identify which victims were still missing and which have been recovered, saying the sheriff’s office was waiting for confirmation from the coroner.

The sheriff’s office said the dive and sonar teams began searching again for the two remaining victims Tuesday afternoon.

Representatives from the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board arrived in Idaho Monday night and were working with county officials to search the wreckage.

Stormy weather on the lake was expected to disrupt some efforts Tuesday, especially sonar operations, Higgins said, but the planes and any accompanying evidence would not be disturbed by weather conditions.

The crash site on the lake floor spans about 500 yards, Higgins said, comprising one “main” debris field and several other areas of wreckage.

The wreckage of the de Havilland seaplane is largely in one piece and has been positively identified. The Cessna is suspected to be in multiple pieces, with the majority of the debris “intermingled” with the other plane, Higgins said.

Higgins said he expected the two missing victims to be located among the wreckage in the main part of the crash site.

All victims recovered have been found within a roughly 200-yard area, Higgins said.

No parts of either plane have been salvaged. Both planes remain under 127 feet of water. Higgins said recovery teams hope to hand over the site to NTSB investigators by the end of the week.

Anyone with video, photos or eyewitness accounts of the crash is encouraged to reach out to the Kootenai County Sheriff’s Office, Higgins said Tuesday.

“We appreciate the multiple witnesses there that day who have come forward to share what they saw, but we need you to pass along anything at all if you have it,” Higgins said.

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