The victims have been identified as the pilot, 47-year-old Brenda L. Houston of Enumclaw, her 10-year-old daughter Elizabeth M. Crews and Dr. Virgil Becker, 54, from Auburn.
Houston was a pilot for United Airlines.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with Brenda and her family during this difficult time,” said the airline in a statement.
Becker was a board certified orthopedic surgeon at Cascade Spine Center.
“Dr. Becker was highly respected in his profession and a valuable member of not only the medical community but the Auburn community,” said Auburn Mayor Pete Lewis. “He will be greatly missed.”
The Cessna 172 was flying from Roche Harbor on San Juan Island to Auburn, the Skagit County Sheriff’s Office confirms. Houston was reportedly planning to drop off Becker in Auburn.
The plane went down in the area of Bald Mountain around 8:35 p.m.
A Navy search team from NAS Whidbey Island assisted in the search. The crew of a Knighthawk search-and-rescue copter used night-vision goggles to help locate the crash site. Due to the rugged area and darkness, they were unable to remove the bodies. The wreckage is about 2,900 feet up the mountain.
As of late Monday morning, a ground search crew was hiking to the crash site, which is located in a fairly rugged area. The closest logging road is still a mile from the scene.
“They’re working on blazing a trail to there, but from what I understand from the Navy corpsman that was on scene, the plane is pretty heavily damaged,” said Will Reichert, Skagit Co. Sheriff’s Office.
The Skagit County Sheriff’s Office says it is still too early to determine the cause of this crash. The pilot was very experienced. The weather Sunday night was not good. Low clouds were reported over Everett’s Paine Field and Arlington’s airport reported overcast skies at 1,900 feet with broken cloud layers below. However, it’s not clear if that played a role.
FAA and NTSB investigators were en route to the crash location Monday morning.