NTSB releases preliminary report for deadly Coeur d’Alene plane crash

Plane Crash Coeur d'Alene

COEUR D’ALENE, Idaho — The National Transportation Safety Board has released new details in the plane crash that killed eight people in Coeur d’Alene.

On July 5, a seaplane owned by Brooks Seaplane and a Cessna collided in mid-air above the Lake Coeur d’Alene.

According to the NTSB’s preliminary crash report, the seaplane was flying north while the Cessna was flying south. The airplanes appeared to be about 700 to 800 feet above the water, the NTSB said. The report says the Cessna may have been “slightly lower” than the seaplane when they crashed above the lake. The agency received these details from witnesses.

“Following the collision, witnesses observed a fireball come from one of the airplanes as both descended into the water,” the report stated.

Planes seen above Lake CDA before deadly crash

Credit: NTSB

At the time of the crash, the NTSB said the sky was clear, winds were calm and visibility was up to 10 miles.

Once the planes crashed, the wreckage was submerged in 130 feet of water between Half Round and Black Rock bays, the NTSB reported.

The seaplane was on a 20-minute tour. Friends of the Cessna pilot said they left from Coeur d’Alene Airport and intended to fly to Lewiston, the report states. There was no radar or surveillance for either plane.

The wreckage was removed from the lake and taken to a secure location for investigators.

Six people were in the seaplane including the pilot, Neil Lunt, and his passengers, Sean Fredrickson and his three children. David Sorensen, a California resident, was also a passenger. In the Cessna was Jay Cawley and Kelly Kreeger.

NTSB officials said the investigation could take as long as two years to complete. A factual report will be released at the end of the investigation followed by a final report three weeks later. The final report will state what officials believe the cause of the crash was.

RELATED: ‘We did what we could do’: Witnesses reflect on deadly Coeur d’Alene plane crash

RELATED: ‘Hug your loved ones’: Family remembers final moments with Coeur d’Alene plane crash victims