By Barbara LaBoe
UPDATE 8:30 p.m.
Two individuals were rescued from a downed aircraft in the Olympic National Park this evening near Mt Jupiter and have been airlifted for medical treatment.
The Cirrus SR22 aircraft went down in the snow covered wilderness and search and rescue officials were alerted at 3:48 p.m. Sunday, April 2, when the plane's Emergency Locator Transmitter activated.
The signal was detected by satellites and the distress message was forwarded to the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center at Tydall AFB in Florida, who alerted the Washington State Department of Transportation. The occupants of the aircraft were also able to alert overflying commercial aircraft on the emergency frequency.
Search and Rescue personnel from Naval Air Station Whidbey Island Search and Rescue were able to locate the wreckage with the help of a search aircraft from Washington Air Search and Rescue, who tracked the distress beacon's signal. The Navy crew then lowered rescuers to the ground to locate, access and hoist the downed flyers up and onto the rescue helicopter and transport them to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. Exact details about their injuries are not available at this time, but they were described as minor and not believed to be life threatening.
At this time we still do not have the names of the pilot and passenger or know the purpose of the flight. The Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board are already mobilized and will begin their investigation to try and determine what caused the plane to go down.
This concludes WSDOT’s involvement in the search and recovery mission. Further information – including the pilot’s and passengers names – will be released by the FAA. Media can contact the FAA PIO at email@example.com. Details about the site will be handled by Olympic National Park officials, who can be reached at 360-565-3000.
Photo credit to Long B. Nguyen of Washington Air Search and Rescue
UPDATE 6:37 p.m.
Search crews have located the missing plane and the two people who were onboard have minor injuries. Rescue crews are still working to reach the plane.
We have no further details about names or other information at this time.
The Washington State Department of Transportation is searching for a missing plane in the Hood Canal/Olympic National Park area near Brinnon.
At 3:48 p.m. Sunday, April 2, an emergency locator beacon signal was received. At roughly the same time, an aircraft contacted Seattle air traffic control reporting hearing another aircraft making a mayday call.
The search is being conducted with an aircraft from Washington Air Search and Rescue as well as a US Navy helicopter crew out of Whidbey Island. They are searching the area of Emergency Locator Transmitter signals. WSDOT also is coordinating with the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office and Olympic National Park officials.
Brinnon is approximately 60 miles north of Olympia on the Olympic Peninsula's east side, along Hood Canal on the eastern edge of the Olympic National Park.
At this time details about the plane and pilot, and any occupants onboard, are not being released because it is unknown. No aircraft have been reported overdue at this time. Updates on the search will be posted on this blog.
WSDOT, by statute (RCW 47.68.380) is charged with the coordination and management of aerial search and rescue within the state. The agency works in conjunction with volunteer search and rescue groups, law enforcement and other agencies, such as the U.S. Navy, in carrying out such searches.