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Float plane recovered from Lake Goodwin after fatal accident
LAKE GOODWIN — A float plane crash on Jan. 22 has left a 6-year-old boy dead.
First-grader Jacob Jeter of Anacortes was a passenger in the plane piloted by his 55-year-old father, which flipped upside down as it landed in Lake Goodwin. While Jeter's father was able to escape, Jeter himself remained trapped under the water for an estimated 40 minutes before a diver from the Snohomish County Technical Water Rescue Team pulled him from the wreckage. Jeter was rushed to the Colby Campus of the Providence Regional Medical Center in Everett, where he passed away at approximately 7:15 p.m. on Jan. 22. According to Kristen Thorstenson, public information officer for the Marysville Fire Department, the father did not require medical transport.
Investigation into the cause of the accident began in earnest on Jan. 24, when personnel from the Snohomish County Sheriff's Office and Technical Water Rescue Team worked with representatives of the state Department of Ecology, the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board to recover the plane.
"We're only just getting started," said Lt. Rodney Rochon, commander of marine services for the Sheriff's Office, shortly after 12:30 p.m. on Jan. 24. "At this point, we're just waiting to turn it over to the FAA and the NTSB, for them to remove the plane from the lake with a crane and a winch from their salver, Mount Vernon Towing and Recovery, and then carry out their investigation."
Sheriff's Office personnel were called out to Lake Goodwin at around 2 p.m. on Jan. 22, after one of three float planes that had been flying in a group flipped over, while the other two made their landings successfully. The plane crashed three-quarters of a mile north of the Wenberg County Park boat dock, to which the plane was moved and removed from the lake on Jan. 24.
"By 5:30 p.m. that Saturday, most of our major crews had cleared out already," Rochon said. "We kept a boat behind to assist the DOE in deploying an oil containment bloom around the plane."
Rochon noted that Technical Water Rescue divers who had helped guide the upside-down plane into the boat dock would need to have their diving suits decontaminated by the local fire department, due to the aircraft leaking aviation fuel and lubrication oil into the surrounding waters within the bloom.
"We met up with the DOE, FAA, NTSB, the salvers and just about anybody else to map this out," Rochon said. "We surveyed the lake to make sure our route was safe and the plane wouldn't run aground, and at approximately 11 a.m., we began to move it."
Rochon added that float plane takeoffs and landings are "not at all unusual" for Lake Goodwin, where he estimated that at least three houses at any given time had float planes sitting in their docks.