Megan Hilty's sister, brother-in-law and their child were among the 10 victims of a plane crash into Puget Sound in Washington Sunday. They were aboard a floatplane traveling from Friday Harbor in the San Juan Islands to Renton Municipal Airport at the time of the crash. Only one body has been recovered from the crash.
The plane crashed in Mutiny Bay off Whidbey Island in Puget Sound, reports KING 5. Nine adults and one child were aboard the craft. On Sunday, a good Samaritan found the body of one female victim, but the other nine passengers have not been recovered yet. The U.S. Coast Guard suspended the search for the remaining passengers on Monday.
The Coast Guard released the names of the victims on Tuesday. Jason Winters was the pilot. The child was Remy Mickel, the son of Ross Andrew Wineries owner Ross Mickel and Hilty's sister, Lauren Hilty. "The Coast Guard offers its deepest sympathies to those who lost a loved one in this tragedy," Search and Rescue Mission Coordinator Cmdr. Xochitl Castañeda said Monday.
The plane was a de Havilland DHC-3 Otter, a single-engine propeller plane, operated by Friday Harper Seaplanes. The plane did not send a distress call, the Coast Guard said. It was about 18 minutes into a 50-minute flight, according to Flight Aware data. The cause of the crash is unknown, but witnesses reported seeing it quickly falling into the water, South Whidbey Fire told KING 5.
"We are deeply saddened and beyond devastated at the loss of our beloved Ross Mickel, Lauren Hilty, Remy, and their unborn baby boy, Luca," Mickel's family said in a statement to KING 5. "Our collective grief is unimaginable. They were a bright and shining light in the lives of everyone who knew them. Although their time with us was too short, we will carry their legacy forward. We want to thank all the first responders, emergency service agencies of Whidbey Island, Island County, the United States Coast Guard (USCG), Naval Air Station Whidbey Island (NASWI), and the private citizens who participated in the search and rescue efforts following the crash."
"The enormous outpouring and support we have received from our friends, family, and the public has been overwhelming," the statement continued. "Our hearts go out to the families and friends of those who also lost loved ones on-board. At this difficult time, we are requesting that our privacy be respected as we grieve the loss of our family members."
"We are deeply saddened by the news about Ross Mickel and his family," the Washington State Wine Commission said in another statement. "Ross had an incredible impact on the Washington wine community and he will be greatly missed. Our thoughts are with his loved ones as they navigate this extraordinarily difficult time."
Hilty, who was born and raised in Washington, has not publicly commented on her sister's death. She is best known for originating the role of Glinda in Broadway's Wicked and earned a Tony nomination for Noises Off. She recently starred in NBC's Annie Live!.