A light plane that vanished in southwest Washington crashed and disintegrated on impact in remote, rugged terrain, killing all three people aboard, authorities said Tuesday.
A ground team that reached the crash site, about 10 miles northeast of Morton, found the wreckage of the twin-engine Cessna, said Lewis County sheriff's Chief Deputy Stacy Brown. The plane vanished from radar early Monday after leaving Chehalis for Lewiston, Idaho.
Searchers used information from radar tracking and reports from loggers who said they heard a plane turning.
The plane was registered to Pacific Cataract and Laser Institute of Chehalis, an eye surgery company. Two employees were reported aboard the plane, which was reportedly piloted by a veteran 70-year-old pilot from the Chehalis area.
In a statement Tuesday evening, PCLI Executive Vice President Debbie Eldredge said those on board included eye surgeon Dr. Paul Shenk of Woodland, laser technician Rod Rinta of Chehalis and contract pilot Ken Sabin of Chehalis.
"We are in full cooperation with the National Transportation and Safety Board in their federal investigation and anxiously awaiting answers to this tragedy," Eldredge said.
With snowfall increasing, a crew from the coroner's office was unable to reach the crash site Tuesday to retrieve the victims, Chief Deputy Coroner Dawn Harris said.
The sheriff's office, Federal Aviation Administration and the county coroner's office are investigating the crash, Brown said.