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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Crime/Public Safety

Report: Pilots in 2020 fatal midair crash above Lake Coeur d’Alene didn’t see each other

Sept. 2, 2022 Updated Fri., Sept. 2, 2022 at 10:05 p.m.

Crews recover debris on July 6, 2020, on Lake Coeur d'Alene from an airplane collision that killed eight people. The final report from the crash from the National Transportation Safety Board found that the two pilots could not see each other, causing the midair collision.   (Kathy Plonka/The Spokesman-Review)
Crews recover debris on July 6, 2020, on Lake Coeur d'Alene from an airplane collision that killed eight people. The final report from the crash from the National Transportation Safety Board found that the two pilots could not see each other, causing the midair collision.  (Kathy Plonka/The Spokesman-Review)

The pilots of two planes that collided over Lake Coeur d’Alene in 2020 didn’t see each other, causing the crash that left eight people dead, according to the final crash report released Wednesday.

The National Transportation Safety Board ruled the probable cause of the accident to be “failure of the pilots of both airplanes to see and avoid the other plane.”

A de Havilland DHC-2, operated by Coeur d’Alene-based Brooke’s Seaplane Service, and a Cessna TU206G that had taken off from Felts Field in Spokane collided over the lake between Black Bay and Powderhorn Bay at about 2 p.m. on July 5, 2020.

Neil Lunt, 58, of Liberty Lake, owner of Brooks Seaplanes, was piloting the de Havilland. The aircraft was carrying Sean K. Fredrickson, 48, of Lake Oswego, Oregon; Fredrickson’s son Hayden, 16; his stepdaughter Sofie, 16; and his stepson Quinn, 11; along with David E. Sorensen, 57, from Clayton, California.

The Cessna was piloted by Jay Cawley, 67, of Lewiston, Idaho. His passenger was Kelly Kreeger, 61, of Rocklin, California.

There was no evidence of any pre-existing mechanical malfunction in either plane, according to the NTSB report. Recovered wreckage indicated the upper fuselage of the Cessna collided with the floats and the lower fuselage of the de Havilland, the report said.

All available evidence pointed to the pilots not seeing each other, the report concluded.

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