Breaking news: Plane crashes off Orcas Island

A plane crashed today off Point Lawrence, Orcas Island. One person was reported dead upon arrival. - U.S. Department of Commerce
A plane crashed today off Point Lawrence, Orcas Island. One person was reported dead upon arrival.
— image credit: U.S. Department of Commerce

By Scott Rasmussen and Kelley Balcomb-Bartok

A small plane carrying two people from Blakely Island to Bellingham crashed off the east side of Orcas Island just after noon today. The plane crashed in the vicinity of Point Lawrence, near Doe Bay Resort.

San Juan County Sheriff's officers and paramedics responded to the accident, which was reported by a witness at about 12:15 p.m.

A Coast Guard helicopter, a State Parks boat and Friday Harbor Fire Department rescue boat were dispatched shortly after the initial report.

The light plane — not a seaplane — crashed an estimated 150-200 yards off Point Lawrence at about 12:09 p.m.

The plane was no longer visible by 12:45 p.m. A witness on shore reported seeing people in the water after the plane crash. There were no other boats in the area and a dive boat was dispatched at 12:48 p.m.

A plane flying over the scene reported seeing a small oil slick in the vicinity of the crash and a person waving just east of Pea Pod Rocks.

At 12:59 p.m. San Juan County Sheriff Bill Cumming reported having a subject in sight. Within minutes, one subject had been pulled from water, suffering from hypothermia.

A Coast Guard helicopter arriving on the scene reported seeing a second individual in the water at 1:03 p.m. Cumming responded to the reported location and retrieved the second person, who was reported to be unconscious.

At 1:10 p.m., the sheriff's boat had two persons on board and was transferring them to medical personnel on the nearby shore.

At 1:35 p.m. one of the victims was reported by dispatch to be dead on arrival, while the other was being airlifted by Coast Guard helicopter to Bellingham.

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