A serene Friday morning at Lake Sammamish was disrupted by a tragic floatplane crash, leaving one dead and another in critical condition. The ill-fated plane was identified as a Seawind 3000, a model that’s rare in the aviation world, with less than 100 in the U.S., as per FAA registration data.
What Witnesses Observed
Eyewitness accounts provided by residents near the crash site depict a harrowing scene. The aircraft made multiple attempts to take off, with its engine sounding irregular and seemingly on the verge of stalling. After several unsuccessful tries, the plane took a perilous descent from about 50 feet, plunging directly into the waters of Lake Sammamish.
Heather Wong, a spokesperson for the Bellevue Fire Department, relayed the valiant efforts of nearby residents. They quickly dialed 911 upon seeing the plane’s distress. By the time emergency crews arrived, some local heroes were already extending their help, administering CPR to the victims from a boat.
While the Bellevue Fire Department is accustomed to emergency calls, floatplane crashes are rare, Wong noted. In her words, “This is not a typical call for us.” Since 2009, they’ve responded to only one or two such incidents, highlighting the rarity of this tragic situation.
The Immediate Response
The Lake Sammamish community showcased commendable courage and altruism. Wong has described the swift actions taken by residents who administered CPR prior to first responders arriving on scene as being heroic, as these quick responses can often make the difference between life and death.
Safety Concerns Voiced
For Janelle Shuey, a Bellevue resident living close to the crash site, the incident resonated deeply. While floatplanes are a common sight on Lake Sammamish, she expressed her constant fear of witnessing such a catastrophe. Emphasizing her neighbors’ commendable rescue efforts, Shuey mentioned how this incident made her “feel lucky” to be a part of such a proactive community.
The Bigger Picture
NTSB data indicates this fatal plane accident has taken place twice in Washington in 2023. Earlier in the year, a Tacoma pilot tragically lost his life in a crash near Queets. In total, the NTSB has looked into 26 plane incidents in Washington this year, resulting in injuries to 14 individuals.
Sarah Taylor Sulick, an NTSB spokesperson, confirmed that a thorough investigation into the Lake Sammamish crash is underway, with an investigator already dispatched to the scene.
Floatplane incidents, particularly involving models like the Seawind 3000, are infrequent, making this crash all the more shocking. As investigations unfold, Lake Sammamish community and Washington as a whole mourns their loss and prays for the recovery of injured parties. This tragedy serves as a stark reminder of life’s unpredictable nature and reminds us all of the importance of community support during such difficult times.