Dungeness Spit torso suspected to be from seaplane crash

Discovery on beach under investigation

Clallam County Search and Rescue crews walk the beach at Dungeness Spit on Friday. The sheriff’s office suspects the remains found are from a seaplane crash near Whidbey Island on Sept. 4. (Clallam County Sheriff’s Office)

Clallam County Search and Rescue crews walk the beach at Dungeness Spit on Friday. The sheriff’s office suspects the remains found are from a seaplane crash near Whidbey Island on Sept. 4. (Clallam County Sheriff’s Office)

DUNGENESS — The Clallam County Sheriff’s Office suspects that human remains found washed ashore at Dungeness Spit are from a seaplane crash near Whidbey Island on Sept. 4.

Two people walking the beach on Friday found the female human torso on the seaward side of the spit, according to Sgt. John Keegan.

Officials suspect the body may be from a seaplane that crashed into the Strait of Juan de Fuca off Whidbey Island as it was en route to Island County, killing 10.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) plans to work with the Navy to recover the wreckage of the DHC-3 Turbine Otter. The work is expected to begin next Monday, Sept. 26.

The cause of the crash is likely to remain unknown for two years, federal agencies said.

The Clallam County Sheriff’s Office is working with the NTSB and FAA to identify the person whose body washed ashore, Keegan said Sunday.

Deputies arrived at the Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge at about noon Friday, activated the Emergency Operations Center and contacted NTSB and FAA to see if the remains were possibly those of a victim of the crash, Keegan said.

The torso includes an intact hand, from which it may be possible to get fingerprints, he said. DNA from families of those who were killed in the seaplane crash might be obtained, once the names of the dead are released.

The remains were released into the custody of the county coroner, who released them to a local funeral home pending an autopsy, Keegan said.

The refuge is located near the intersection of Lotzgesell Road and Kitchen-Dick Road. Deputies and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Rangers closed the area of the beach where the human remains were found.

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Executive Editor Leah Leach can be reached at 360-417-3530 or at [email protected].

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