Sheriff: At least 2 killed in plane collision at Idaho lake

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Boaters flag down authorities to a crashed seaplane near Powderhorn Bay on Lake Coeur d’Alene on Sunday, July 5, 2020, south of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. The downed plane can be seen in the right side of the image. Two people died in a plane crash Sunday over Lake Coeur d’Alene Sunday, the Kootenai County Sheriff’s Office told the Spokane Spokesman-Review. 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. (Stephanie Hammett/The Spokesman-Review via AP)

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COEUR D’ALENE, Idaho (AP) — Two bodies have been pulled from Idaho’s Lake Coeur d’Alene and as many as six other people are missing after two small planes collided above the water, authorities said.

Witnesses described the planes colliding and crashing into the lake near Powderhorn Bay at around 2:20 p.m. on Sunday, a Kootenai County Sheriff’s statement said.

Multiple local agencies responded, including the sheriff’s marine teams, local fire departments and the U.S. Coast Guard, the Spokane Spokesman-Review reported.

Sheriff’s Lt. Ryan Higgins said the two recovered bodies had not been identified. Investigators are checking initial reports that there were eight people on the two planes. They don’t believe anyone survived.

John Cowles told the newspaper he was on the lake with his family when 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 at 800 to 900 feet (244 to 274 meters) above the water. Pearce, a pilot himself, said he recognized by the engine sounds that both were traveling at fairly high speeds when they collided and fell into the lake.

The National Transportation Safety Board will likely take over the investigation, Higgins told the Spokesman-Review.

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