Boyci: Two passengers are dead and as many as six others are unaccounted for after a tragic plane collision over Lake Coeur d´Alene on Sunday. The Kootenai County Sheriff's Office confirmed that two victims were discovered dead while authorities searched the Idaho lake. They were recovered from the water before the aircraft sank into Lake Coeur d´Alene.
'Due to the nature to the accident their identity is unknown at this time,' the department wrote in a statement.
Initial reports said there were eight other passengers on the two aircraft, but authorities said they're verifying the count. The remaining six passengers are unaccounted for. The victims and additional passengers have not been identified. At this time, it is believed there are no survivors.
Witnesses said they saw two planes colliding above the water, then crashing into the lake near Powderhorn Bay, according to a release from the Kootenai County Sheriff´s Office. The crash took place about 2:20 p.m.
Multiple local agencies, including the sheriff´s marine teams, local fire departments and the United States Coast Guard, responded to the crash. The Kootenai County Sheriff’s Office said the both planes have been located by a sonar team and are under 127 feet of water.
The Kootenai County dive team is reportedly not equipped to be that deep, so a commercial dive team would likely be needed to search for any survivors and wreckage.
A Federal Aviation Administration spokesperson told CNN that one plane involved in the crash was a Cessna 206, but the other has not been disclosed.
John Cowles told The Spokane-Review that 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 overhead.
One of the plane's wings then separated, and the plane fell into the water.
Patrick Pearce, another witness, said he was pulling his jet ski from the dock when he noticed two single-engine planes flying towards each other between 800 to 900 feet above water.
Pearce, who is a pilot, said based on the engine sounds the planes were going at fairly high speeds.
The National Transportation Safety Board will likely take over the investigation in the coming days, Higgins told the Spokesman-Review.