The US Coast Guard has called off the search for nine people who went missing after a floatplane crashed in Puget Sound, northwest of Seattle.

A nearby resident reported hearing a thunderclap at the time of the crash on Sunday.

The Coast Guard announced shortly after noon on Monday that the search for survivors had been called off after “saturating an area” of more than 2,100 square nautical miles (nearly 2,800 square miles or 7,250 square kilometers).

The Coast Guard said on Twitter that “all next of kin have been notified of this decision.” “Our hearts go out to the families, loved ones, and friends of those who are still missing, as well as those who have died.”

A good Samaritan recovered the body of a tenth person, an unidentified female, after the crash was reported at 3:11 p.m. on Sunday, according to Scott Giard, director of the United States Coast Guard’s Pacific Northwest search and rescue.

The victims’ identities were expected to be released on Tuesday.

According to Coast Guard spokesperson William Colclough, the Northwest Seaplanes flight left Friday Harbor, a popular tourist destination in the San Juan Islands, and was headed to Renton Municipal Airport, the company’s base.

The plane crashed in Mutiny Bay on Whidbey Island, about 30 miles (50 kilometers) northwest of downtown Seattle and roughly halfway between Friday Harbor and Renton, a Seattle suburb to the south.

Jeff Brewny and his wife were walking their dog on Whidbey Island on Sunday when they heard a loud boom.

“My first thought was of thunder.” “It was that loud,” he explained. “There was no flash like with lightning. So, you know, I assumed it was a boat explosion. That was how devastating it was. “My dog went insane.”

The Coast Guard learned from the owner of the seaplane company that two Friday Harbor seaplanes took off Sunday afternoon, with the owner aboard one of the flights, according to Giard. According to the owner, he saw the other plane divert slightly off course and attempted to make radio contact but was unable to.

According to Giard, officials received reports that “the aircraft dropped suddenly at a fair amount of speed and hit the water.” “At the moment, we don’t have any video or pictures of the incident.”

According to him, there was no distress call or distress beacon from the crashing plane. The aircraft is equipped with an electronic locating transmitter, but no transmission has been received.

The National Transportation Safety Board announced Monday that it will send a team of seven investigators to the DHC-3 Turbine Otter crash.

Giard stated that Coast Guard searchers discovered “minimal debris.” They had only discovered three to four long and narrow pieces of aluminum, very few personal items, a seat, and some small pieces of foam by Monday afternoon.

It’s difficult to know what happened to the plane without a clear picture of the actual crash, and without knowing whether it exploded on impact or immediately sank to the sea floor, 150 to 200 feet (45-60 meters) below, he said.

According to the company’s website, Northwest Seaplanes is a family-owned business founded by Clyde Carlson.

The company’s business office at Renton Municipal Airport, next to the seaplane dock, remained closed behind fencing on Monday. The only activity visible was two people hugging near the front door.

A woman who answered the phone early Monday said they are waiting to learn more about the crash and are devastated.

“We’re a small crew.” “Everyone is close,” said the woman, who only went by her first name, Michelle. She refused to elaborate.

The company expressed their heartbreak in a Facebook post late Monday.

Floatplanes, which have pontoons that allow them to land on water, are a common sight in Puget Sound, a Pacific Ocean inlet. There are several daily flights between Seattle and the San Juan Islands.

In July 2020, a Brooke’s Seaplanes De Havilland Beaver was on a scenic flight in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, with five passengers and a pilot when it collided with a Cessna 206. There were eight fatalities.

Six people were killed in a midair collision between two sightseeing planes in Alaska in 2019. The Ketchikan-based floatplanes were carrying passengers from the same cruise ship, the Royal Princess, and were returning from tours of Misty Fjords National Monument.