Seven Killed in Mid-Air Collision of Two Small Planes
SNOHOMISH, Wash. (AP) _ Two small planes collided over a rural field Saturday, killing seven people, an official said.
Wreckage was scattered over a half-mile area, mainly in a farm field next to the strip, said Snohomish County sheriff’s spokesman Elliott Woodall.
The accident occurred about one mile west of Harvey Airfield, a private landing strip about 12 miles northeast of Seattle, said Michael O’Connor, a Federal Aviation Administration duty officer in Renton.
The dead included five adults, including at least one woman, who were traveling in a twin-engine Piper PA-23 from Vancouver, British Columbia, said Woodall. Also killed were two Snohomish County men, who were in a single- engine Cessna 172 that took off from a small airport in Arlington, Wash., he said.
The bodies were to remain in the field until Sunday morning while investigators searched for the cause of the crash, Woodall said.
Eyewitnesses said they saw the planes collide at about 2,000 feet outside the landing or approach paths for nearby Harvey Field.
Bruce McCall of Snohomish was in his front yard when ″I heard an explosion, and saw what looked like parts of planes falling out of the clouds.″
Witness Jon Hornback said he saw three planes in the sky just before the accident.
″I couldn’t believe it when I saw it,″ Hornback said. ″They just drove into each other like no one was even looking out the front.
″We saw one guy ... just plummet from the sky, just tumbling over and over and over,″ Hornback said. ″We kept hoping a parachute would pop or something, but none of them had parachutes on.″
Woodall confirmed that three planes had been flying in the area and that two collided.
″Whether they (the planes) were going to or from the field, we don’t know,″ Woodall told KIRO Radio in Seattle. ″Visibility is good. It’s just hard to say why the two aircraft would come together.″