NTSB preliminary report released on Mutiny Bay crash that killed 10

The wreckage of the de Havilland DHC-3 that crashed into Mutiny Bay near Freeland, Washington, on Sept. 4, killing all on board, has been located 190 feet below water. The NTSB, with the help of the US Navy, will work on wreckage recovery. Following recovery, an examination of the wreckage will begin.

The flight, which departed around 2:50 p.m. from Friday Harbor Seaplane Base (FHR) headed to Renton Municipal Airport (RNT) was the pilot’s second trip of the day, according to the NTSB preliminary report. Each of the trips that day included multiple legs.

According to witnesses near the scene, the airplane was in level flight before it entered a slight climb, then pitched down in a near-vertical descent. It remained in a near-vertical descent and crashed into the water of Mutiny Bay.

According to the NTSB report, some people saw the plane “spinning,” “rotating,” or “spiraling” during portions of the steep descent. One individual said they heard the engine/propeller noise, but not any “pitch change” in the noise.

There was no data recorder or cockpit voice recorder on board. The airplane was not required to have either. The aircraft did have a King 560 Enhanced Ground Proximity Warning System installed, but the unit was not crash-protected.

The airplane was registered to Northwest Seaplanes Inc. and the pilot began working for the operator in 2013. The pilot, one of two who flew the DHC-3, began flying the airplane in 2017. As of May 31 of this year, the pilot had accrued a total of 4,686 flight hours.

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