COEUR D’ALENE, Idaho (AP) — Two people died in a plane crash Sunday over Lake Coeur d’Alene in Idaho, and as many as six other people may be missing, the Kootenai County Sheriff’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 sheriff’s office. The crash happened around 2:20 p.m.
Multiple local agencies, including the sheriff’s marine teams, local fire departments and the U.S. Coast Guard responded to the crash, the Spokane Spokesman-Review reported.
Lt. Ryan Higgins with the sheriff’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 he was on the lake with his family at the time of the crash. Cowles said he saw what appeared to be an “engine explosion” on a seaplane flying no more than 200 feet (61 meters) overhead. One of the plane’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 (244 to 274 meters) 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.