All victims recovered from Lake Coeur d'Alene plane crash

Posted at 8:36 PM, Jul 05, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-13 18:34:03-04

UPDATE (7/13): The Kootenai County Sheriff's Office has identified the remaining occupants of the plane crash that happened on July 5. The last victim is David E. Sorenson, 57-years-old from Clayton, California. Sorenson was on the seaplane with Neil Lunt, Sean Fredrickson and his three children.

The two occupants on the Cessna have been identified as Jay M. Cawley, age 66 from Lewiston and Kelly J. Kreeger, age 61 from Auburn, California. They were the only two occupants on the Cessna.

The plane recovery is being coordinated by the insurance companies for the two planes. Once the wreckage is recovered, it will be handed over to the NTSB and taken to a facility out of state for investigation purposes.

Officials say there were large canisters at the Loff's Bay Boat Launch with parts of the plane in them. The wreckage that was recovered was placed in those canisters to help with the transport. The canisters have been removed from the boat launch area.

At this time it is unknown when recovery efforts will continue. The boat launch and docks at Loff’s Bay are now open to the public however they may need to be closed again when recovery operations resume.

Since the investigation is being handed over to the NTSB, all further press releases and questions will need to come from the NTSB.

UPDATE (7/10): The final victim of the plane crash was recovered Thursday, as well as the fuselage of the Cessna. The airplane recovery team was able to raise the Cessna from the bottom of the lake, where the last victim was located. The names of the remaining victims are not being released until approved by the Coroner's Office.

Recovery efforts will continue today to bring up the rest of the wrecked planes. At this time, it is not known how long that process will take. The Loff's Bay Boat Launch and Docks are closed to the public until recovery efforts are finished. A section of the lake at the crash site is also closed, but boats are able to go around the site along the shoreline.

More information will be released when it becomes available.

UPDATE (7/9): The last two victims of Sunday's plane crash have been found, as well as the main body of the second plane. They were located in about 124 feet of water, according to the Kootenai County Sheriff's Office.

The Sonar Team, Dive Rescue Team and technical rescue divers were able to recover one of the victims. The second is in the plane wreckage and is unable to be safely recovered at this time. The salvage team will focus on this wreck first in order to recover the victim. The Coroner's Office has requested the remaining names of the victims not be released.

The Kootenai County Sheriff's Office will assist the recovery team and NTSB during the retrieval of the final victim. Once they are recovered and turned over to the coroner, the scene will be taken over by NTSB. Efforts to start recovering the final victim and planes today, which will be overseen by NTSB and contractors hired by the insurance company for the two aircraft.

A portion of the lake around the crash site will be closed to boaters for the safety of the personnel in charge of recovery. This area will be marked with buoys and there will be barges in the crash site area. The Loffs Bay Boat Launch will also be closed temporarily while rescue efforts are taking place.

It is unknown how long it will take to retrieve the final victim and plane. More information will be released from the Kootenai County Sheriff's Office as the recovery efforts progress.

UPDATE (7/7): PGA made an announcement that Sean Fredrickson, President of the Pacific Northwest PGA section, has died after two planes collided over Lake Coeur d'Alene. An email was sent to members of the Pacific Northwest PGA Section on the passing of Fredrickson.

The Brooks Seaplane that Fredrickson was on was piloted by Neil Lunt, 58, from Liberty Lake. A 16-year-old female, 11-year-old male and a 16-year-old male were also pulled from the lake, identified as the children and step-children of Fredrickson. There was another male on the plane that has not been identified yet.

The two occupants of the Cessna have been identified, but their names are not being released until next of kin is notified. Kootenai County Sheriff's Office Dive Team and Sonar Team is planning on going out again Wednesday, but there is a storm forecasted in the area which may delay the teams.

ORIGINAL STORY: Six out of eight bodies have been recovered after two airplanes collided over Lake Coeur d'Alene on Sunday. The Kootenai County Sheriff's Office said specialized divers are searching the lake for the remaining two people.

The sheriff's office said one of the planes was a floatplane operated by Brooks Seaplanes of Couer d'Alene, which operates scenic flights over the lake. That plane was carrying five passengers, including three children and a pilot.

The second airplane was a Cessna 206 carrying at least two people. Authorities say at this time it is believed there are no survivors.

"We're working on sonar and dive operations as we speak, but at this point, we've gone from a rescue to a recovery mode," said Ryan Higgins, Kootenai County Sheriff's Office.

Multiple Marine units, U.S. Coast Guard units, as well as Worley, CDA and Eastside fire departments responded to the area, according to Kootenai County Sheriff's Office. The National Transportation Safety Board has been notified and will respond to investigate the accident. More information will be released as it becomes available.

Authorities say the wreckage is strewn across about 500 yards of the lake bottom.