VERNITA, Wash. (AP) _ The bodies of two federal wildlife agents were removed Saturday from a plane that had crashed and submerged in the Columbia River.

The four-seat Cessna struck an electricity tower support wire and fell into the river on Friday, killing the two agents and injuring the pilot.

James Michael Callow, 50, of Boardman, Ore., and Kathleen Mary Cheap, 48, of Umatilla, Ore., were employees of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and managed wildlife refuges in eastern Oregon and eastern Washington, said Brenda Lincoln, an agency spokeswoman in Portland, Ore.

The two were conducting waterfowl surveys on the Columbia at the time of the crash. They were apparently trapped when the plane sank near the Hanford reservation.

Pilot Cliff Dyer, 42, of Kennewick, improved from critical to stable condition Saturday. He suffered chest injuries and was pulled from the water by a boater.

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the cause of the accident.