Actress Megan Hilty and her sister Kristen Hilty Eaton remain hopeful that the remains of their family members can be recovered after they died in a plane crash in Washington state early last month. Hilty's sister Lauren Hilty, Lauren's husband Ross Mickel, and their son Remy were among the 10 people killed when a float plane crashed in Puget Sound on Sept. 4. On Oct. 1, Island County Emergency Management said six bodies have been recovered so far.
Hilty and Eaton launched a GoFundMe campaign to raise funds to recover the remains of Lauren and Remy since the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has ended their work at the site. Lauren was eight months pregnant with her son Luca at the time of the crash. The campaign raised $72,512 before Hilty and Eaton stopped accepting donations.
"When the NTSB brought up the plane, several victims were recovered, and thankfully Ross was one of them – but our beloved sister and nephews were not," Hilty and Eaton wrote. "Now that the NTSB has concluded its work, it is up to us to hire a private company to go look for them. While the chances are slim, there is still a possibility we can find them, and we all agree that at the end of the day, we want to say we did everything we could to bring them home."
Although Hilty and Eaton said the NTSB concluded their work at the scene, the agency told PEOPLE their investigation is ongoing. "Investigators continue to examine the wreckage to determine the probable cause of the crash in our safety investigation," the agency said. They added that the "majority of the aircraft" has already been transported to the NTSB laboratory in Washington, D.C.
The float plane was on its way from Friday Harbor in the San Juan Islands to Renton Municipal Airport at the time of the crash. Nine adults and one child were among the passengers. There was one pilot, Jason Winters. The other victims in the crash were Spokane civil rights activist Sandy Williams; Joanne Mera, who was visiting from San Diego; Gabrielle "Gabby" Hanna of Seattle; and husband-and-wife Luke and Rebecca Ludwig.
"Whether you have contributed financially, brought us meals, sent flowers or cards or healing thoughts and prayers, we will never truly be able to thank you enough for supporting our family when we needed you the most," Hilty wrote on Instagram on Oct. 21. "But we will keep trying and we will be paying these acts of kindness forward for the rest of our lives."