Four people were killed Friday after a small plane crashed into a field and caught fire near Snohomish, according to the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office.
“With assistance from the Snohomish County Medical Examiner’s Office, investigators confirmed four fatalities,” spokesperson Courtney O’Keefe said in an email Saturday.
According to the Snohomish County Medical Examiner’s Office, the victims were Nate Lachendro, 49, of Gig Harbor; Scott A. Brenneman, 52, of Roy; David W. Newton, 67, of Wichita, Kansas, and Nathan W. Precup, 33, of Seattle.
Cause of death for all four victims was listed as blunt force injuries, and the crash has been ruled an accident.
Kenmore Air released a statement about the passing of Brenneman, noting he was their chief pilot and had flown with the company since 2006.
Authorities initially reported that two people died in the crash on Friday morning.
The crash involved four crew members working for Raisbeck Engineering, a Seattle-based company that designs and develops modifications to aircrafts, according to a statement from Hal Chrisman, the company’s president.
“At the time of the crash, (the aircraft) was under the command of two highly experienced test pilots, both with over 10,000 flight hours, collecting baseline aircraft performance data,” said Chrisman. “The entire crew of four also included a flight test director and an instrumentation engineer.”
According to Chrisman, the aircraft had not yet been modified at the time of the crash, and Friday’s test flight was meant to help the company measure the plane’s baseline performance before any modifications would be made.
He said the company will fully cooperate with authorities as their investigation into the crash continues.
The single-engine Textron 208B crashed at approximately 9:35 a.m. on Friday, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.
The aircraft went down in the middle of an unworked field in the 13600 block of U.S. Highway 2, about a half mile from Harvey Field.
The location is difficult to access due its rough terrain and vegetation and irrigation canals, officials with Snohomish County Fire District 4 said.
Those who first arrived at the crash scene made several attempts to reach the plane with handheld fire extinguishers, but crews were unable to get close enough to the plane to control the fire because the flames were too large and intense.
More than 2,000 feet of hose were laid down by hand, and water was supplied by shuttle to contain the fire. Multiple crews and engines from agencies throughout Snohomish County responded.
Video from Chopper 7 showed firefighters putting out flames amid the wreckage and plane parts and debris scattered across the field.
Numerous fire engines and police vehicles were also seen lining the highway.
U.S. Highway 2 was closed from 88th to Westwick Road in Snohomish but has since reopened.
Smoke from the fire was reported to have been seen from about a mile away.
The plane is owned by a charter company in Alaska and was under lease to Raisbeck Engineering.
The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board will investigate the cause of the crash.
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